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Finnish breadcrumbs to become Swedish ethanol

In Finland, a new recycling plant for bread and bakery residues has been opened in Kotka. The plant receives bakery residues such as dough, flour, breadcrumbs as well as packaged and unpackaged unsaleable bread from Vaasan Oy's production facilities in Vantaa, Kuusankoski, and Kotka. Here it is dried before being shipped to Sweden where it is used as feedstock in Lantmännen Agroetanol's biorefinery in Norrköping to produce ethanol, animal feed, and green carbon dioxide (CO2).

A new recycling plant for bread and bakery residues has been opened in Kotka, Finland. The plant receives bakery residues such as dough, flour, breadcrumbs as well as packaged and unpackaged unsaleable bread from Vaasan Oy’s production. Here it is dried before being shipped to Lantmännen Agroetanol’s biorefinery in Sweden (photo courtesy Lantmännen).

Food waste burdens both the environment and the economy. Therefore reducing food waste across the value chain is one of the most important issues in the food industry. However, as some losses and waste in production chains inevitably occur, they must also be dealt with in a sensible circular manner.

In Finland, bread is one of the most commonly wasted foods.

We have managed to significantly reduce the amount of food waste in Vaasan bakeries in recent years, and currently, about 3.7 percent of our total production is lost. We sell the surplus bread to charity and sell it to our own bakery shops, but it is equally important to do something with inevitable waste. Unsaleable bread is not a non-recyclable waste, said Thomas Isaksson, Managing Director of Vaasan Oy.

Circular approach

Officially opened on November 1 by representatives from Lantmännen Group and Vaasa Oy, a Lantmännen subsidiary, the food industry waste is dried at Kotka and then transported to the Norrköping ethanol plant in Sweden.

The largest of its kind in the Nordic region, Lantmännen Agroetanol’s facility in Norrköping, Sweden is a conventional grain ethanol plant that uses grain to produce ethanol, animal feed and green carbon dioxide (CO2) for the beverage industry.

With our production of ethanol, feed and carbon dioxide in Norrköping, we close the cycle and create a circular business model for the grain, which benefits the climate, said Magnus Kagevik, Head of Energy Division at Lantmännen.

More recently, the Norrköping plant has included a separate reception and pretreatment line to use residues from the food and confectionary industry including Lantmännen Group’s own bakeries. Old hot dog and hamburger bread are used as feedstock and then converted into sustainable biofuels with up to 95 percent CO2 reduction along with protein-rich feed, and green carbon dioxide.

Lantmännen makes extensive investments in the energy field. It is not just a matter of offering sustainable products, but also about using environmentally friendly processes, such as taking advantage of the residues from what we produce and reuse it in our production. Lantmännen Agroetanol’s operations are a good example of how a bio-based circular economy looks in practice, said Magnus Kagevik.

The new recycling plant in Kotka will increase the amount of such residual feedstock originating from production within the Lantmännen Group.

“We produce top quality bioethanol in our biorefinery, which reduces greenhouse gases by more than 95 percent. We refine the carbon dioxide from fermentation into carbon dioxide for the beverage industry and also produce protein-rich feed for livestock. We began processing refining of food products into valuable raw materials four years ago. The Kotka recycling plant is a natural continuum for us as the Baltic Sea region is our home market,” said Jan Mauritzson, Managing Director of Lantmänne Agroethanol, here seen during a company presentation in Norrköping.

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