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Combatting climate change with biowaste

30.10.2018

NutriLoop is a small, yet ambitious enterprise aiming for nothing less than circular economy which takes the nutrients in biowaste back to the soil and gives us an opportunity to transition to organic farming.

Biowaste is the most important type of waste. Since it is wet, it ruins other materials, so they cannot be recycled. On the other hand, it has incredible value, which we currently can’t fully utilize.

How to collect waste with less smell and time?

“At the moment, biowaste is seen as a problem. I think about it differently, though – instead of seeing biowaste as a problem, we should try to find opportunities that this waste could offer to us. We have to understand that biowaste contains the nutrients that go missing in our food system, so biowaste could be a part of the solution in the fight against climate change,” explains Markko Mäll, founder of NutriLoop.

The NutriLoop system is simple – first, the biowaste is fermented in an anaerobic environment for two weeks, which makes it very effective and generates no smell. Then, the earthworms get to work, upcycling this material even further and producing vermicompost. The acidic environment, a by-product of the fermentation process, destroys the pathogens, chemicals, weed seeds and pesticides, but it preserves the nutrients.

Everybody wins

As should be obvious from the name of NutriLoop, it is important to create a loop – the waste of a restaurant or a community is upcycled and then taken to a field, where it adds nutrients to the soil. The organic vegetables grown on this field will be taken back to catering enterprises and people.

Markko thinks that a solution would be found in rethinking the entire agricultural system. “There is a myth that we have to use chemicals because it’s cheaper and better. In reality, a great harvest comes from fertile soil.”

1 Let’s Do It World, which took place on 15 September 2018 in 150 countries.

Homepage: NutriLoop

Photo: Francesco Gallarotti

Why this story matters?

It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food. If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centered rural development and protecting the environment.

Right now, our soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded. Climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on, increasing risks associated with disasters, such as droughts and floods. Many rural women and men can no longer make ends meet on their land, forcing them to migrate to cities in search of opportunities. Poor food security is also causing millions of children to be stunted, or too short for the ages, due to severe malnutrition.

A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish the 815 million people who are hungry today and the additional 2 billion people expected to be undernourished by 2050. Investments in agriculture are crucial to increasing the capacity for agricultural productivity and sustainable food production systems are necessary to help alleviate the perils of hunger.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. 

Read more about SDG 2 – Zero Hunger

This publication has been produced with the financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the coordinators of this project and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

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Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation (AKÜ) is an independent not-for-profit coalition of non-governmental organisations that work in the field of development cooperation, global citizenship education or sustainable development.

AKÜ is a strategic partner for Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a consultant the state in field of development cooperation, global citizenship education or sustainable development.

AKÜ also provides workshops and consultancy for private sector companies as well as for wider public on sustainable development goals and global issues. 

The highest decision-making body is the General Assmebly.  AKÜ’s legal representative is the Board, which is also responsible for managing the organisation’s staff. 

MTÜ Arengukoostöö Ümarlaud (AKÜ)

Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation

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Agne Kuimet – member of management board, agne@terveilm.ee