The main objective of the project is to identify, through targeted analysis of individual companies in various industries, potential improvements in their production systems.

For the most part, food waste as a part of food processing is an unexploited potential resource. Thus, the purpose of the project is to showcase best practice waste valorisation examples that would become commonplace for environmentally conscious producers, and that could be replicated in other similar businesses.

In order to identify the amount of waste that are generated in the different food sectors, an input-output analysis is conducted.

The questionnaires in the selected firms are used to query the necessary data: quantities, inflows and outflows, production processes, origin of residues and waste. Site visits are done to verify data and processes.

From this, an individual MFA diagram is made in order to visualize the flows of materials. The analysis is based on this. This allows the identification of possible data gaps and the optimization of resource use whilst minimizing waste.

The image shows a basic MFA system (ILMA global system) for a food processing business:


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The “ILMA global system” describes the relevant processes and flows in food processing at a highly aggregated level. For this reason, the described processes in the global system are to be understood as generalized processes. In a further work step, the global system is adapted to the processing of different foods, which are investigated within the framework of the ILMA project. The global system was developed as an overview to build up a joint questionnaire, upon which a specifically tailored questionnaire for companies participating in the study is established. The branch-specific systems contain detailed processes and material flows.

The system gives a clear picture of how (and in what quantities) goods arrive, are used, processed, disposed of, and in which form they leave the system. With this, it is easy to compare, contrast, and identify ways in which the system of production may be streamlined.

Another overall aim of Project ILMA is to lead to, and to encourage, further research in this evolving field.

  • The basic aims of project ILMA are:
    • To calculate the amount of waste/residues that are generated in the different food sectors
    • To categorize said waste/residues
    • To develop strategies to reduce waste of food
    • To highlight best-practice scenarios
  • Benefits for companies:
    • Identification of possible data gaps and new, cost-saving ways of waste management
    • New approaches for optimization in waste and resource management and for reducing disposal costs
    • Identification of possible potential for waste prevention and the recycling of certain waste fractions/residues
    • Support for companies in their search for new disposal routes
    • Information on best practice examples
    • Exchange of information between enterprises
    • Proposals for optimizing waste and residues, leading to further cost savings