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Circular economy

With the future in mind, Suiker Unie tries to extract the maximum yield from its raw materials and waste flows by applying a circular economy approach. We focus on maximising reuse and recovering maximum value from the waste flows resulting from the production process. Organic waste and minerals should be returned to their place of origin as far as possible.
 
In line with this philosophy, Suiker Unie focuses on the entire beet plant as a source of biomass. This approach opens up tremendous opportunities for other products in addition to sugar. For example, we are participating in development projects for making bioplastics from concentrated sap, extracting fibres from beet pulp and protein from beet leaves and generating green gas from the beet tips.

 
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We work together closely with supply chain partners in the chemical industry and with universities in order to develop new methods for adding value to the sugar beet. For more details, please view the following video:
 

Beet tips and other organic waste are converted to green gas in biomass digesters at our production sites in Dinteloord, Vierverlaten and Anklam. The biomass digesters are connected to the sugar factory at various points. Waste material from the sugar beets can be processed immediately at the site. Nieuw Prinsenland, a sustainable business estate and commercial greenhouse complex is being developed on the plot next to the sugar factory in Dinteloord. In the future, it may be possible to use the CO2 released during the waste material digestion process in these greenhouses.
The digestate that is left behind after extracting the gas is used in agriculture and horticulture to improve and maintain soil condition.
 
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And we see even more opportunities for closing recycling loops. In the factory processes themselves in some cases, or on an exchange basis with partners in other cases. For example, we treat and filter our process water so that it can be used as washing water in the sugar factories. In Dinteloord, we supply some of our surplus treated water to neighbouring greenhouse sites where it is used for irrigation. We use the methane from our in-house water treatment process to drive steam turbines and reduce our consumption of natural gas.
 

Suiker Unie continues to contribute to creating a circular economy.