The webinar was open by Marcella Fernandes de Souza, who explained the set-up of the Grassification project and the results achieved so far.
Nathalie Devriendt presented the practical experiences of ProNatura with roadside cutting, collecting and turning the grass into a resource. ProNatura together with Vandaele found a technical solution to adapt the mowing head in combination with a new procedure of mowing the verges, which results in a lower sand content and, therefore, better possibilities for valorization of the clippings. Also some technical solutions were found to pretreat (drying, milling) the grass to turn it into a resource. Next to technical solutions, it is also important to understand the drivers of the current procedures of cut and collect and the costs. If new value chains will be developed, the new solutions will need to be integrated in an adapted way of roadside management.
Miet Van Dael presented the techno-economic feasibility of the new value chains. Extra costs versus extra gains from the resources were discussed. Turning the grass fibres into a resource and making it economically feasible is still a challenge following the results within Grassification.
An important challenge of the new value chains for roadside cuttings is how to organize an efficient logistic chain whole year round, with storage and kilometers driven as low as possible. Ruben Guisson dived into this challenge and presented the results of modelling an optimal logistic chain for Flanders.
During the interactive session, participants discussed the feasibility of reaching high quality of cuttings together with the economical feasibility. Consensus between participants was found on the fact that local cooperation in creating the value chains is the key to success. Possibilities in green and sustainable procurement could be of help to create opportunities for sustainable value chains. Participants also agreed that it will be difficult for the grass value chain to compete with current linear value chains. If circular economy becomes the standard, these new grass valorization chains would have more chances to remain feasible. Till that moment, governments need to set the example or help these value chains with some kind of support.
For more information
Summary in Dutch with more details:
Video (in Dutch, except for the first presentation by Marcella Souza, which was given in English):