Boosting circular economy in the anchovy canning sector

A study co-led by researchers at the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF emphasizes the importance of an integrated Water-Energy-Food-Climate perspective towards circular economy. The results published in Waste Management help to facilitate decision-making for more sustainable products.


Source: Jun Seita from Palo Alto, CA, U.S. (7 Portes) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

The great concern regarding food loss has been studied previously in an isolated way, disregarding interdependencies with other areas. Now, a research project coordinated by Universidad de Cantabria and co-led by the Chair goes a step further by proposing a new procedure to assess different waste management alternatives based on the nexus approach by means of an integrated Water-Energy-Food-Climate Nexus Index (WEFCNI). Published in the journal Waste Management, the study shows that “the use of the nexus index as an environmental management tool is extendable to any food system with the aim of facilitating the decision-making process in the development of more sustainable products”. Thus, “the application of circular economy strategies needs a deeper analysis from the nexus approach,” according to researchers. This work is part of the GeSAC-Conserva Project at the Chair.

Researchers at the Universidad de Cantabria, the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF, the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, have analysed the management of residues from the anchovy canning industry in Cantabria (Spain), considering the three current applied alternatives: valorisation of food loos as animal feed in aquaculture, incineration of food loss with energy recovery, and landfilling with biogas recovery. The last two alternatives considered the use of energy recovered to produce a new aquacultural product.

The environmental profile of the waste management techniques has been studied using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology in combination with linear programming optimisation to achieve an aggregated nexus index. The results show that incineration is the best performing scenario when the nutritional energy provided by the valorisation alternative is not high enough and the valorisation technology presents the highest water consumption. Therefore, “a minimisation in the consumption of natural resources is suggested in order to improve the application of circular economy within the sector,” as highlighted by researchers.

About GeSAC-Conserva

The GeSAC-Conserva Project - “Sustainable management of Cantabrian anchovy: local strategies for global development”, carried out between 2014 and 2016, aims to design and implement strategies for a sustainable management of the Cantabrian anchovy canning sector from a life cycle perspective.


Reference article

Laso, J., Margallo, M., García-Herrero, I., Fullana, P., Bala, A., ... & Aldaco, R. (2018). Combined application of Life Cycle Assessment and linear programming to evaluate food waste-to-food strategies: Seeking for answers in the nexus approach. Waste Management, 80, 186-197.



Add Comment

    • >:o
    • :-[
    • :'(
    • :-(
    • :-D
    • :-*
    • :-)
    • :P
    • :\
    • 8-)
    • ;-)

    Follow us on Social Media!

    tw logo        linkedin logo_initials 

    Featured projects

    Análisis de Ciclo de Vida de la producción de vino de La Rioja.

    Cálculo de Huella de Carbono de la cadena de producción textil de la marca MANGO.

    Diseño de un software integrado para una Arquitectura Sostenible.

    Cálculo de ahorro de emisiones de CO2 en los productos de la Red Compra Reciclado.

    Desarrollo de criterios de una Ecoetiqueta Europea para edificios de oficinas y para la compra y contratación pública verde.

    Creación de una plataforma on line para difundir casos de estudio de edificación sostenible.

    Análisis del Ciclo de Vida de un Turista que viaja a las Islas Baleares.

    Sensibilización y recogida selectiva de juguetes con componentes eléctricos y electrónicos en als escuelas.

    Diseño de un software de gestión de envases.