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Cooperativa Produttori d’Arborea wins 1st prize with the Re-Live Waste project

With the Re-Live Waste project, the Arborea Producers Cooperative won the award Towards a circular economy 2021, wanted by the Cogeme Foundation and Kyoto Club. Re-Live Waste was funded by the EU and is part of the Interreg MED transnational program. The project is focuses on innovative systems for the management of waste materials, with a view to a circular economy. In particular, the objective of the pilot project is the recycling of livestock effluents and their transformation into material useful for agricultural cultivation and to limit the dispersion and disposal of surplus products. Re-live is coordinated by the University of Sassari and involves four countries: Italy, Cyprus, Spain and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The Arborea Producers Cooperative has made its fattening centers available for the installation of the systems necessary for the conversion of waste into struvite, a mineral used effectively, before sowing, as a soil conditioner. The waste includes manure and sewage, treated with biodigester to obtain the chemical reaction that generates struvite. The soil fertilizer is designed to facilitate the penetration of water into arid soils, whether clayey or sandy. This system not only limits the amount of materials to be disposed of, but favors the reuse of excess nutrients and improves the environmental and economic sustainability of agricultural businesses. “It is a highly encouraging result the one coming from the activities related to Re-Live” explains Pasqualino Tammaro, agronomist of the Cooperative, who also recalls how the plants, powered completely by photovoltaic panels placed on the stables, have a limited energy cost. 

Since 1956, the Arborea Cooperative has been involved in the production of beef, fruit and vegetables and the feeding for small and large ruminants. It offers technical support to the associate companies and involves them in its research activities.  

The cooperative’s dynamism has been interacting with the activities of the MEDSEA Foundation, which operates in the Gulf of Oristano since 2017 with the Maristanis project, focused on the conservation and sustainable development of the six Ramsar sites enclosing the gulf: "We live in continuity and contiguity with MEDSEA. Arborea is surrounded by wetlands and an interaction between the two is strictly essential", says Tammaro. 

MEDSEA and the Cooperative also collaborate in the PRISMA project, funded by the Research & Development Program for Complex Projects, Agroindustry sector. The purpose of the initiative is the reuse of slaughtering leftovers and the sustainability of the agricultural cultivation system through the creation of earthworm compost, an excellent bio-stimulating fertilizer. "The slaughtering waste, after treatment, is added to the breading base, made up of soil and manure" explains Tammaro. The colonies of the small earthworms do the rest, providing an excellent synthetic peat. Earthworm compost has been recognized in the E.U  lists of Natural Biologics and today it is possible to involve this new plan into the actual production, in order to “enhance these waste and give them an economic value”, states Tammaro. The project partners of PRISMA are the University of Sassari, the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Sardinia, and Bioss Srl. 

“The award is just a starting point” says Tammaro, who adds: “From these results comes the need to reproduce the model on a larger scale. We also have to save some energy energy for the experimental projects we’ve planned for 2022. The collaboration with MEDSEA will be very important. We are convinced that the goal can only be achieved through mutual exchange and associated work". 

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