Many people do not consider the waste that can occur as a result of cheese production. The Globe and Mail take a look into a Quebec fromagerie that is exporing more eco-friendly ways of making cheese. These ideas include the use of biogas to reduce waste.
But Laiterie Charlevoix did something unique within the cheese industry. It combined the biogas system with a large greenhouse where plants, which eat organic matter, are used to help further cleanse the effluence (the concept is called phytotechnology). The resulting purified water runs off into the surrounding land and eventually into the local salmon stream. I was shown “proof of life” in a small man-made goldfish pond that resides within the facility and is filled with the refined water.
Although transforming organic waste into biogas is not a new concept, the usage in cheese plants is more recent. “There should be enough energy from whey and waste water to meet all their thermal needs,” Valbio’s Mr. Hubert says. “And when you produce energy from effluence, it’s not like a fossil fuel that runs out – it’s constant.”
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