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Case studies: helping to achieve zero-waste targets

These projects are at the forefront of helping Scotland to achieve its ambitious zero-waste targets. They have accessed funding through Zero Waste Scotland’s Waste Prevention Innovation fund. Following a £250,000 investment in 2011/12, a further £100,000 was recently announced to support Scottish businesses wishing to progress innovative ideas in product, service and packaging design which will significantly affect waste reduction and help reduce greenhouse gases.

UWI Technology

UWI Technology received funding to market test a smart label on selected food and drinks products that will display the elapsed time from first opening of the product. The aim of the smart label is to remove the element of doubt as to when the product was first opened.

Pete Higgins, founder and chief executive of UWI Technology, says: “We have found that the biggest frustration felt by consumers was not remembering or knowing when a jar was first opened. More often than not, they would throw the jar out and not risk family health, especially where young children or elderly are involved.

“The UWI label is not only cost effective and helps to manage food stock, but it also removes any doubt and reduces the risk of using a product, which is out of date.”

The label is an elapsed time indicator that is applied on the production line as part of the packaging process. The label is triggered when the seal on the container is broken and displays the elapsed time from first opening.

The label is suitable for any goods with a specified or recommended ‘use within’ period, turning from green to red once the manufacturer’s recommended time is up. The label can be calibrated to hours, days, weeks and months.

Around 65% of food waste comesfrom the home, and UWI Technology believes that its label will help to significantly reduce this.

“The technology we are adopting is innovative as it has never been used before as a timing device in a label,” adds Higgins. “We don’t believe we have any real competitors with this product - anything similar has been too expensive to be used on mass production.”

UWI expects a version of the label to be in use near the end of 2013 and the product should be widely available in 2014.  

Albagaia

Albagaia received funding to support the testing of treatment technologies (pictured below) that remove phenol, which is toxic, from waste caustic.

The technologies are advanced oxidation’ processes, and include photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) and treatment with ozone. Albagaia uses a patented PCO process in which buoyant microspheres, coated with a catalyst, are suspended in the waste stream. These are illuminated with UV light, creating radicals that destroy pollutants and kill pathogens. The buoyant beads remain in the reactor, avoiding the need to recover the catalyst from the treated waste stream.

Albagaia head of advanced oxidation Clive Dyson says: “In this project, we have completed experimental comparisons of four technologies, using innovative measurement techniques to track the breakdown of phenol and intermediate chemicals.

“The results were very positive, and confirmed the relative performance of the technologies for this application. Based on this, we have progressed to the next stage and started development of a second-generation pilot plant for evaluation with customers.”

Advanced oxidation processes are an attractive alternative to membrane filtration, absorption and incineration for handling a number of pollutants. They all require an input of energy but, in return, offer significant advantages, including cost saving, improved efficiency and effectiveness, and the treated waste streams can be passed on to conventional biological treatment plants.

Dyson adds: “The grant we received allowed us to extend the range of processes we have been able to investigate during this project, and has supported the development of novel measurement techniques. With the support of this and subsequent SMART funding, we aim to supply systems to customers in 2013.”

  • Albagaia

    Case studies: helping to achieve zero-waste targets

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