Teaming up with Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) and Australian mushroom growers, we explored commercially viable approaches to reduce and/or increase the value of waste generated by mushroom growing.
Using trials, new business models, open-innovation and design thinking, we developed new strategies for reducing waste, increasing revenue, and cutting costs for farmers.
Every year, Australia produces around 250,000 tonnes of valuable mushroom waste. But still, mushroom-growers are missing out.
For every 1 kg of mushrooms harvested, up to 3kg of spent compost is left behind. The process of making compost takes significant time and the use of finite resources such as straw, peat, and organically-rich animal manure.
Due to transport and storage costs, growers are losing the economic and market opportunities this waste could provide. Also, because of increased competition from organic and green waste, mushroom growers’ waste is earning 25-50% less than it did 20 years ago.
With so many opposing variables, farmers are unable to increase their revenue and minimise their costs. Farmers are on a search for technologies and processes that can utilise this waste, making their businesses more efficient and the process more environmentally sustainable.
Hand-in-hand with mushroom growers, we unearthed new ways to increase mushroom waste value.
- Mapped existing processes for waste management and removal
- Developed business models to better understand their cost and revenue opportunities
- Researched current and emerging technologies from around the world to increase waste value and meet business needs
- Conducted on-site and laboratory trials
- Met as teams to prioritise the most attractive opportunities
Working side-by-side with mushroom-growers, we developed four unique value-boosting business models.
Tailored specifically to their needs, we demonstrated the solutions on-farm, proving both the technical performance and business viability - including waste recycling processes and waste-to-energy conversion. In addition, they incorporated high-value food products from edible mushroom waste.
Mixing research, engagement and business model design, we offered four solutions to mushroom-growers.
As these farmers implement new models and find high-value alternatives to waste, our teams continue to offer our support and solutions.
What we delivered
- Agricultural value chains
- Stakeholder engagement
- Financial analysis
- Technology assessment
- Business model design
- On-farm trials