Figure 12. The cycle of agro-wastes starts with formation after human activity at the micro- (farm), meso- (company/industrial), or macro- (city to country) level with different pathways under the 4Rs (reduce, recovery, reuse, and recycle) rule with different possible applications and suggested management under different nexuses. The main factors that control the processing, transformation, conversion, and production of by-products or new products from agro-wastes include water, energy, and microbes.
It is urgent that we increase global food production to support population growth. Food production requires significant resources, amongst them water and energy. Therefore, any losses of food or other agricultural products also means a waste of water and energy resources. A significant amount of these losses occurs during the postharvest stage, primarily during processing and storage. This is considered avoidable food waste. The water-energy-waste nexus (WEW), and its relationship to food production, needs to be investigated from a circular bioeconomy lens. Furthermore, alternative uses of the wastes should be investigated. This review focuses on agro-wastes and their management as sources for bioactive compounds, biofertilizers, biomaterials, nanomaterials, pharmaceuticals and medicinal agents, and growth media, e.g., for plant tissue culture. We also investigated the potential contribution of agro-wastes to bioenergy production (bioethanol, biogas, and biofuel). Proper management of agro-wastes may support the mitigation of climate change, produce innovative bio-ingredients and biodegradable materials, and enhance green growth and a circular bioeconomy. We argue that the management of agro-wastes cannot be discussed without referring to the role of water and energy within the food system. Thus, this review focuses on agricultural wastes and their handling, applications, environmental impacts, and potential benefits in the agricultural and medical industries in light of the WEW nexus.
El-Ramady, H.; Brevik, E.C.; Bayoumi, Y.; Shalaby, T.A.; El-Mahrouk, M.E.; Taha, N.; Elbasiouny, H.; Elbehiry, F.; Amer, M.; Abdalla, N.; Prokisch, J.; Solberg, S.Ø.; Ling, W. An Overview of Agro-Waste Management in Light of the Water-Energy-Waste Nexus. Sustainability 2022, 14, 15717. https://doi.org/10.3390/su1423...
- Research Article // Circularity in the Urban Water-Energy-Nutrients-Food nexus
- Research Article // A water-energy-food security nexus framework based on optimal resource allocation
- Research Article // Environmental assessment of vegetable crops towards the water-energy-food nexus: A combination of precision agriculture and life cycle assessment
- Research Article // Optimization of agricultural resources in water-energy-food nexus in complex environment: A perspective on multienergy coordination