Wednesday, October 11, 2006

From cardboard to caviar - an exemplary sustainable winner

A novel closed-loop project, which converts waste cardboard into valuable Siberian sturgeon and caviar with the help of socially disadvantaged groups and energy from a renewable source, has won an award and is the type of project that warms the carbon-free cockles of the Low Carbon Kid's heart.

The Green Business Network’s (GBN’s) ABLE project at Caldervale sewage treatment works in Wakefield is a partnership with Yorkshire Water, East Wakefield Primary Care Trust, and West Yorkshire Probation Service for the regeneration of a 34 acre former landfill site. It has won the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management’s (CIWM) inaugural ‘Innovative Practice in Wastes Management and Resource Recovery Award 2006’.

Siberian sturgeon and caviar are produced from waste cardboard that is first shredded for animal bedding. The used bedding is composted using worms, and excess worms are fed to the sturgeon. In the future, worms from food composted on site will also be used. The project provides training to aid in the rehabilitation of offenders recovering from substance misuse.

The output of composted sludges from the sewage treatment works will be used to grow willow, which will then be burnt as a biofuel to heat water in the fish tanks, saving Yorkshire Water and the environment the cost of its transport. In addition, along with many other activities, the project will create a 3km wildlife trail using recycled plastic groundblocks, manufactured by Intruplas Ltd, a recycling company previously set up by the GBN. The path will also use recycled glass substrate.

The project is a superb win-win-win demonstration of sustainable development, providing training and development of job skills for groups from the probation service and youngsters from across the West Yorkshire area in danger of being excluded from school. They will receive training in aquaculture, horticulture, land and countryside management and will grow plants and vegetables in planters made from recycled plastic again from Intruplas. Fencing from the company will also be used around the site.

Project Manager, Graham Wiles explained: “The project conserves the resources of today for use tomorrow. At the same time it uses those resources as a catalyst for the training and education of disadvantaged people, enabling them to be integrated back into society. Some of these people have severe learning difficulties and the horticultural side is extremely beneficial”.


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