An opportunity to not only reduce the waste footprint of Australia's rural industries, but to be potentially be part of the solution as well has seen Agrifutures Australia develop a new program to align with Australia's National Waste Policy.
AgriFutures Australia's significant investment in the waste challenge is designed to prevent, eliminate, reduce, or reuse waste in the production of food and fibre before it leaves the farm or boat.
This initiative specifically targets pre-farmgate waste, meaning waste that occurs through the production process, prior to moving off-farm or off-boat along the supply chain.
"Further planning coupled with innovative approaches are needed to think differently and efficiently about how we eliminate waste in the first place," senior manager rural future, AgriFutures Australia, Jen Medway said.
"This includes reducing our reliance on waste-producing practices, and thinking creatively around how we can repurpose what we do use, including, for example, profitable alternatives for organic material."
The program is designed to look outside current national initiatives to undertake actions to minimise:
- Hard and soft plastics;
- Animal and plant organic matter, such as manure from farms and intensive animal systems, and harvest waste; and
- Other inputs, including fertiliser and pesticides.
"Reducing waste has long been a priority for the sector," Ms Medway said.
"AgriFutures Australia's research investment through this initiative is designed to complement this work.
"We will work with our Rural Research and Development Corporation (RRDC) counterparts, government, industry bodies and producers to chart a path for consistent and coordinated industry action on this issue."
Managing principal of RMCG Consulting, Dr Anne-Maree Boland is working across three of the program's research investments.
"Being able to physically transport waste to processing facilities is very challenging," Dr Boland said.
"There's also the fact that agriculture has inputs, which may not be readily recycled."
Industry consultation is kicking off with Agrifutures Australia keen to hear from anyone invested in eliminating, reducing or repurposing waste on-farm.
- Visit: www.agrifutures.com.au