Wastes to Profits Newsletter – June 2020


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Newsletter – June/July 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is severely impacting the global economy. The World Economic Forum, Ellen McArthur Foundation and 50 global leaders recently joined forces in a joint statement about the circular economy as a solution to build back better. Committing to “accelerating the transition to a circular economy, creating solutions that combine economic opportunity with benefits to wider society and the environment.” 

For the food sector this will include “redesign of products and supply chains to regenerate nature, eliminate the concept of waste, and connect local production and consumption where appropriate”.

In 2017, the Red Meat sector led the way with the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework launch, and Meat & Livestock Australia Carbon Neutral 2030 target. Signalling to the world that Australian industry is taking their social licence to operate seriously. In 2020, we are seeing a clear change in environmental, social and corporate governance decisions of large financial investment funds shifting towards renewable assets, and global companies pledging carbon neutrality or negative targets, such as Microsoft, Nestle, L’Oreal, and Ford.

CSIRO commissioned KPMG Economics to estimate the potential economic impact of implementing eight different circular economy opportunities in Australia. The report was released in May 2020 and estimates a future circular economy in Food, Transport and the Built Environment together representing a potential economic benefit of $23 billion in present value GDP by 2025. By 2047-48 it estimates a rise to a present value of $210 billion in GDP and an additional 17,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs for Australia.

In June 2020 the 5 year strategic plans for Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) were released. Together with the 2020 Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update these documents set the agenda for the red meat and livestock sectors transformational change in the years to come.

Through collaborative projects like the Wastes to Profits we will drive the transition towards a circular economy and carbon neutrality. In this newsletter we highlight our activities between March – June 2020, including two researcher spotlight videos. We also ask you to express your interest in attending future webinars run by the Wastes to Profits team. We encourage you to watch the videos and stay in touch.

We welcome your interest, involvement and feedback throughout this four year project. Please make sure to visit the website, sign up to the newsletter and encourage your colleagues to do the same. If you need more information or want to become actively involved in the project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Researcher spotlight

In this section we have videos from the Wastes to Profits team about their research. If there are specific topics that you would like to see from the team – please contact us.


Dr James Strong

Provides an overview of the solid waste to animal feed research fermentation being conducted at Queensland University of Technology. Including surprising changes in paunch odour. Watch the researcher spotlight video here.


Dr Serhiy Marchuk

Provides an overview of the organic fertiliser research being conducted at the Centre for Agricultural Engineering, University of Southern Queensland. Including granulated organomineral fertilisers from digestates. Watch the video here.

Engagement and Collaboration

In this section we highlight specific events, engagement and collaboration activities of the Wastes to Profits team. If there are specific meetings, events or sites that you would like to see the team present or attend – please contact us.

Sampling continues

COVID-19 has impacted the project through restricted access to partners sites. Despite these challenges, we have been working closely with our partners to ensure sufficient samples for ongoing work. In addition, we are about to embark on intensive sampling campaigns with our partners in Queensland and Victoria.

Planning next pilot trials

We have been working on the plans for our next set of pilot trials which will include mobile anaerobic co-digestion pilot, including technology integration of pre-treatments and additives that improve biogas yield and digestate quality. If you are interested to know more about these anaerobic co-digestion pilots or want to collaborate please get in touch here.

Organic fertiliser trials

The Centre for Agricultural Engineering (USQ) managed to plant the next phase of organic fertiliser trial for the Wastes to Profits project. Due to quick thinking and careful planning, COVID-19 restrictions did not impact the required collection of digestate, granulation, or planting processes.

Algae microponds

Murdoch University Algae R&D Centre were able to re-commence a long-term pre-pilot study on a local partners site in May 2020. Enabling the collection of winter seasonal data. Thankfully COVID-19 and the stormy weather has not heavily impacted this important aspect of the research in Western Australia.

Feedback magazine

The May/June edition of Feedback magazine produced and published by Meat & Livestock Australia provided an overview of the Wastes to Profits project in Supply Chain Innovation Section, titled “Turning Waste into Profit” (pg 38). The article highlights the plans to undertake more pilot trials later in 2020. Read it here.


We have been running Webinars as a new format of engaging with our project partners. So far we have held two webinars on organomineral fertilisers and value addition to hides. We will continue to use this format and plan to hold public webinars later in the year. Please express your interest in our future Webinars here.

Upcoming events of interest

Bioenergy Australia Webinar: Flexible bioenergy systems in the Ag sector with a focus on digestate utilisation

Friday 10 July 2020,  14:00 – 15:00

Join the webinar to hear about the application of flexible bioenergy systems in the agriculture sector and, in particular, the key role of digestate in improving the soil quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and bringing jobs and economic advantages to regions.

For more info on the webinar and to register click here

Interested in attending a Wastes to Profits webinar in the future?

Please express your interest in our future webinars here.

The Wastes to Profits Project Overview

The Wastes to Profits project aims to capture a potential market opportunity for the livestock sector in excess of AUD$100 million per year by converting wastes into valuable products.

The Wastes to Profits project brings together stakeholders from across Australia’s animal industries with technology, research and development providers. The project delivers advanced technologies to convert wastes from livestock production and municipal water treatment into fertilisers, feeds, chemicals, and energy products for use in agriculture. The overall aim of the project is to improve productivity and enhance profitability for primary producers.

The project focuses on the following 4 areas;

  • Area 1: Assessing waste streams from the livestock sector, developing business models and pathways to adoption to promote commercial application of project outcomes;
  • Area 2: Developing technologies for improved management of wastes with a key focus on anaerobic digestion as a platform for energy production from waste;
  • Area 3: Developing technologies for the production of nutritionally-advanced feeds; and
  • Area 4: Developing technologies for production of fertilisers, chemicals, plastics, and energy products.

We welcome your interest, involvement and feedback throughout this four year project from 2018 to 2021. Please make sure to visit the website, sign up to the newsletter and encourage your colleagues to do the same. If you need more information or want to become actively involved in the project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Key Contacts

Chair, Wastes to Profits Steering Committee
Doug McNicholl
Program Manager, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)
e: dmcnicholl@mla.com.au
p: 0439 275 794

Chief Investigator, Wastes to Profits
Prof Ian O’Hara
Principal Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
e: i.ohara@qut.edu.au
p: (07) 3138 1551

Project Manager, Wastes to Profits
Lisa van den Berg
Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
e: lisa.vandenberg@qut.edu.au 
p: 07 3138 1415





This project is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program and the partners.