Three case studies from Estonia

In the last months we have been very busy at the University of Life Science (EMÜ). What is the the most important is that we have met the representatives of Estonain case studies. It is always nice to step out of the desk research and see what different enterprises actually do and what their thoughts are regarding the topic of circular economy, circular bioeconomy etc.

Based on our work in Work Package 2, we have selected three case studies to be explored in-depth in Work Package 3. Our three case studies are each from a different sector – agriculture, forestry, and aquaculture. The companies working with EMÜ team in the CIRCLE project are HKScan Estonia; Fibenol and Võrtsukala.

HKScan Group Estonian subsidiary Rakvere Farms AS grows, slaughters and processes pigs for food and other products (e.g fat, bowls, MBM). The deriving manure from pig farming is considered a by-product of that business and is collected in special containers for selling it to collaborating independent farmers. HKScan rents to the farmers the machinery necessary for spreading the manure on the fields where feed grain is grown for their livestock.

Fibenol (spin-off company of Graanul Invest Group) is producing sustainable biomaterials from wood residues. While traditional wood industry is focused on using by-products for a low value energy solution, their new technology converts over 90% of the by-products (such as branches, chips, and low-quality round wood) into valuable lignin and wood sugars that could be used in many other industries. Fibenol is the leading partner in the SWEETWOODS project where together with eight other European companies they aim to develop an industrial scale plant and establish new bio-based value chains.

Võrtsukala is adding value to fishing sector by using fine fish as pet food or human food. Fishermen usually prefer not to handle fine fish because it is not economically profitable but catching fine fish is important to reduce pollution in inland waters. Võrtsukala is reducing waste and creating an opportunity of additional earnings for fishermen.

Upcoming months will be busy for us as we are working on different project tasks at the same time. Alongside to case studies, we have also possibility to find out more about consumers’ opinions and preferences regarding circular products.

We at EMU team are really looking forward to working with our cases and sharing experiences with partner countries.

Image: Michael Strobel from Pixabay