The companies in the European sugar industry that form part of the Comité Européen des Fabricants de Sucre (CEFS) process some 110 mn t of beet every year, producing about 17 mn t of sugar. Most of this sucrose is then processed by companies in the agri-foodstuffs sector.
However, beet processing in sugar factories generates not only sugar but also a considerable number of other materials. There is a demand for most of these materials on the market. They meet specifications and are subject to quality control. Some of the leading materials in this category are beet pulp and molasses, which are used as animal feed. In addition, molasses constitute an important raw material for the production of alcohol and yeast. Weed, beet leaves and beet tails which also arrive in the factories are used as animal feed too. As for sugar factory lime, which is also produced during the processing of beet, this is highly appreciated by farmers, who use it as a fertilizer. Beet earth can also be used as a soil improver, which allows it to be returned to the agricultural production cycle. The use of stones and sand in civil works also meets environmental demands. It is only the sludge from on-site effluent treatment, together with unusable materials such as oil, scrap metal, paper and glass that have to be regarded as waste. However, it is possible to use the sludge for agricultural purposes in certain conditions. . . .
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