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Yaffle your next project

By Rebecca Cohoe is Memorial's online connecting tools. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help from the university. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one...

The problem:
Aquaculture is becoming a major economic driver along the southern coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. There's certainly nothing problematic about that, especially given the number of jobs that the industry has been able to provide to the region.

The issue is that many of the operations in the Coast of Bays region are set up in small communities. While the new jobs are helping to keep the region viable, the small, residential dumps along the coast just can't keep up.

The No. 1 waste-related challenge is dealing with the bags used to transport and store feed. The volume of feed bags generated by the industry continues to rise proportional to production, and with the industry thriving, estimates suggest the amount of waste bags could rise to125,000 metric tons per year by 2015.

With some of the aquaculture companies either holding or seeking eco-certification, finding a solution to the challenge is a major research priority for the industry.

The project:
According to Darrell Green, R&D co-ordinator with the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, there are several approaches that a researcher could take to the problem.

"We're looking for someone interested into looking into either the option of recycling or of reuse," he said. "It could be coming up with a way to separate the oil from the bags to prepare them for recycling. On the other hand, there's a guy in Ontario who was using the bags make compost. If there were some sort of innovative approach aside from recycling that would work on this scale, we're open to it."

Mr. Green believes that the work could be done by either a faculty member, or a graduate student. As for the area of specialization of the person, it would all depend upon the approach taken. Chemistry and engineering types might be interested in coming up with a way to recycle the bags; however, someone from the Faculty of Business could envision an entrepreneurial way of reusing them.
He also mentioned that funding would likely be available to undertake the project and that his organization would assist with the funding proposal process.

Interested in learning more about this project? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 864-2120 or email him at