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NZAgbiz recognised for creating value

NZAgbiz recognised for creating value from recycled dairy industry products

Award win for making animal nutrition products from dairy industry loss streams

Since the industrial revolution, businesses have been built on a linear ‘take-make-waste’ model. But as pressure on resources grows, there is a need to shift to a more ‘circular’ economy. The circular model seeks to maximise the lifecycle of materials, optimise usage, and re-use materials.

NZAgbiz is a Hamilton-based company whose business model has been circular since its inception in 2008. A Fonterra business unit, NZAgbiz manufactures livestock nutrition products using primarily Fonterra ingredients and has recently won a commendation at the prestigious 2018 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards for its work.

General Manager Greg Cate says from the beginning the NZAgbiz aim was to better use Fonterra’s loss streams for the benefit of farmers and the co-op, and avoid sending it to landfills.

Loss streams include materials such as oversized sifter particles, fine powder particles and cheese trims. Because the material is not suitable for human consumption, it would normally end up as landfill waste.

“We take this material from Fonterra and other dairy manufacturing plants and re-work it into useful, high-quality animal nutrition products that help livestock thrive, such as calf milk replacers (CMRs), pig products and specialist animal health supplements such as probiotics, colostrum powder and electrolyte replacements,” says Greg.

Any product NZAgbiz cannot re-work is on-sold as ingredients for stock feeds, soaps and bio fuels.

“By recycling dairy industry products, we not only reduce the amount of material going to landfill but maximise and extend the life of the dairy industry’s downgrade product and loss streams to create useful, quality products that benefit New Zealand farmers,” he says.

While sustainability was a driving force behind the NZAgbiz model, another key driver was the need to produce quality CMRs that farmers could feed to their calves instead of using the more valuable milk from their vat. To date, approximately two million calves have been raised on NZAgbiz CMRs.

The successful NZAgbiz model was recognised recently at the prestigious 2018 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards, receiving a Commendation in the popular ‘Going Circular’ category. ‘Going circular’ refers to designing products to help create a circular economy in New Zealand. As one of 11 finalists in the category, NZAgbiz beat nine worthy finalists and lost only to one - the ethical beauty brand Ethique.

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