The overall objective of the RUSTICA project is to foster the technical validation, demonstration and implementation of bio-based fertiliser and soil improvement production techniques focusing on waste from the fruit and vegetable agro-food system to close nutrient cycles on a regional level. This objective will be achieved through a transdisciplinary multi-actor approach, aimed at validating, demonstrating and integrating 6 technological options for mineral nutrient recovery from fruit and vegetable waste streams in multi-valorisation configurations in 4 regions across the European Union. This RUSTICA approach will additionally be validated in the context of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), through a close cooperation with CIAT.

Specific objectives

To optimize and demonstrate the suitability of 6 technologies for the recovery of nutrients from fruit and vegetable residues as biofertiliser

To demonstrate the integration of technological solutions adapted to locally available fruit and vegetable waste streams with a combined NPK recovery of >90%

To demonstrate the production of 3 types of biofertilizer blends for circular re-use of nutrients present in fruit/vegetable waste streams, adapted to the local demand

To demonstrate the technical feasibility to replace 5-10% of the current mineral fertisliser use by circular biofertilisers at a regional level by 2040

Development of 5 regional multi-actor networks, capable of co-creating and exchanging knowledge, as well as co-developing a business model for a successful implementation of multi-valorisation of regional fruit/vegetable waste streams

Pilot scale implementation and demonstration of nutrient value chains in at least 2 study regions and fertiliser validation in 3 test regions

Map the impact of nutrient recovery technologies on the nutrient imbalances in the target regions, and develop a roadmap for a nutrient exchange strategy between regions based on the newly available biofertilisers

Systemic evaluation of the potential of the individual fruit and vegetable waste streams processing technologies and the combinations into multi-valorisation chains

Ensure replicability of the RUSTICA results and approach