Westfalia Fruit Group Brings Avocado Oil Refining Process Closer to Circularity; Paulina Theologou-Criticos and Petrus van Eeden Discuss
SOUTH AFRICA - In its mission to create a more circular economy, Westfalia Fruit Group has announced three innovative new environmental and social projects. Together, these plans will enhance sustainability and help local communities surrounding the company’s South African fruit processing plant in the Kwa Zulu Natal province, which refines avocado oil.
“Sustainability is one of our core company values and we are always looking for ways to improve our processes. These projects have helped us to become more sustainable by reducing the waste we produce; they have social benefits, and we are saving costs in the process,” said Paulina Theologou-Criticos, Chief Executive Officer EMEA Region.
All three of Westfalia’s projects revolve around creating innovative ways to reduce the types of waste generated in the refining process, according to a release. These include soap stock, spent bleach earth, and avocado wax.
Soap stock is a waste product from the refining neutralization process that can be recycled into soaps, and Westfalia and the company that purchases the soap stock have joined forces with a social enterprise to establish a unique plan.
“A local South African NGO called PEN has started to make washing powder and bathing soap from this product. In addition to recycling the soap stock, their project is supporting homeless people living in shelters, which enables these communities to generate additional income from selling the soap and learn important business skills and break the cycle of poverty at the same time,” explained Petrus van Eeden, Oil Operations Manager and Technical Support for New Business Development. "One success story from this project is a person currently living in the shelter who is using these funds to support himself while he is completing his Law degree.”
To minimize the waste of avocado wax, another byproduct, it is used to manufacture biofuels for boilers and burners to generate energy. Through Westfalia’s new projects, spent bleach earth is also being reused, as its solid waste can be composted and its excess oil can be made into biofuel.
Overall, these projects are helping to keep 70 tons of waste out of the landfill each year.
“In cases of severe drought, such as we’ve seen in South Africa in the last few years, we have been reminded of how fragile our environment is and that we need to find more sustainable ways of doing things. I feel good that Westfalia is contributing to a better future for people and the planet,” added van Eeden.
To read more about these projects, click here.
As Westfalia introduces new ideas to increase company sustainability, AndNowUKnow will report.