Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

Australian process converts rubbish to chicken feed

Would poultry feed made from waste turn out to be nutritious and palatable to poultry? Last May bureaucrats and potential investors in East Java, Indonesia were awaiting the first results from an important local lab analysis.

Two entrepreneurs are willing to set up a project that converts people's waste into chicken feed. The businessmen are convinced, but the project, which needs a US$25 million (about Rp 225 billion) investment, had to convince people.

"There's a lot of skeptics in the government, particularly in animal husbandry, but I'm pretty optimistic," said Surabayan businessman Ron Kho. "Once this gets up and running, everyone will want to be involved."

His partner, Sam Salpietro from Western Australia, whose company BioCulture is pushing the idea to convert (organic) waste into chicken feed. "This is the only project that can be considered a viable and commercial operation," he said. "There's no need for subsidies or government funding."

Dissatisfied with local lab procedures, the partners decided to get another opinion on their product in Australia. But the idea hit speed bumps. Six months later the partners have their analysis from the Western Australian government's chemical laboratory, which they presented to potential investors in Surabaya recently.

Every day the people of Indonesia's second biggest city produce 3,000 tons of rubbish destined for the dump. The overall quantity is much higher, but efficient scavengers pull tons of plastic, glass, wood and other recyclable out of the refuse long before it gets to the landfill.

If one imagines a low-tech process whereby about half of that waste would be converted into chicken pellets that could be sold at a profit. The garbage pits would then last twice as long in a land where space is needed for the living, not for their waste.

"There's no doubt this project can only work in developing countries where labour is cheap," Kho said. "Most of the work is manual. It requires teams of people sorting through refuse on a moving table and rejecting everything inorganic.

"The foods and plants which do get through will be cooked and processed to remove impurities. Extra nutrients will be added and the mix forced through an extruder to make pellets."

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