With expert help from NIBIO, the potato chips manufacturer Maarud has established a large and modern composting facility for its waste resources. The facility will help keep valuable nutrients in circulation.
NIBIO researcher Ove Bergersen is a compost expert. For many years he has been involved in large and small composting projects, both in the laboratory at Ås and with clients. This has allowed him to gather a great deal of knowledge about what is required for bacteria to thrive in different types of waste resources, so that they break down waste into stable compost as best as possible.
In spring 2020, the snack food manufacturer Maarud got in touch with him. For many years crushed potatoes, starch, and sludge waste from the factory had piled up in a waste disposal site in their factory area, and the factory manager thought that this surely must be a valuable resource going to waste.
He was right about this.
“The sludge from the water treatment plant at Maarud is packed with nutrients that is worth its weight in gold for good plant growth,” Bergersen explains.
“It’s also free of environmental toxins and heavy metals, which is a good basis for compost that will be added to soil.”
Maarud is located in the forest in Sør-Odal and is not connected to the municipal drainage network. That is why it has its own treatment plant in the area to clean the process water that is used to rinse the potatoes before producing chips.
“The advantage of having your own facility is that the sludge from the water treatment has not been in contact with industry waste or other waste streams. This means that the compost produced is very pure,” says Bergersen.
Based on knowledge and advice from Bergersen, Maarud completed its cutting-edge windrow-based composting facility between 2020 and autumn 2021. The aim of the facility is to process all waste from the factory, i.e., sludge, starch and crushed potatoes and turn it into a high value compost product.