Deakin University launches new BioFactory to tackle Australia’s food waste problem

By Tamanna Wadhwani  August 29th, 2022

Deakin researchers have developed a facility to convert food waste into products like nutritional ingredients, cosmetics and fertilisers.

Deakin University has set up a new BioFactory facility to focus on the development of new solutions and processes to tackle Australia’s alarming amounts of food waste. This facility, set to be operational by 2023, will recycle and reuse organic waste collected from households, businesses and supermarkets. 

Australian households are currently throwing away around 585 kilograms of food waste on average every year. In addition to this, businesses are solely responsible for 2.5 million tonnes of organic waste entering landfills annually. This waste contributes around 3% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. 

This BioFactory will collect food waste, agricultural waste and marine by-products and convert them into products like nutritional ingredients, organic fertilisers, cosmetics and biomaterials for the medical and textiles sector.  

The facility is part of the Circular Economy Accelerator- Organics cooperation that is a collaborative approach bringing together various facilities of Deakin, Monash and RMIT University and connecting them to external industry partners such as businesses, corporates and councils that require solutions to minimise their organic waste.  

“Deakin University is proud to play an integral role in positioning Victoria as an innovation leader in industry-focussed solutions for the processing of organic waste. This is an important step in establishing a multi-billion dollar bioeconomy for the state,” says Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin.

The $16.4 million facility includes $10 million in funding from the Victorian Government through the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF) to deploy advanced manufacturing technologies.

“This investment is about doing our part to help establish a more sustainable future and support the development of innovative practices to provide a circular economy,” says the Victorian Minister for Higher Education, Training and Skills Gayle Tierney.

Learn more about Deakin University's role in transforming Victoria's waste industry here.

Tamanna Wadhwani

Tamanna moved from India to Australia to pursue a degree in environmental science and conservation biology. After learning about the concept of a circular economy in 2020, she worked with various organisations in this sector and is interested in solving complex climate change and waste management problems. She loves to communicate with people about all things sustainability or animals. Outside of work, Tamanna is a budding hip hop dancer who also loves travelling, cat cuddles and reading.

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