Hybrid service simulator model for Circular Economy implementation. Case Study: Jalisco's food banks

This idea is my PhD thesis project. I am registered in the PhD Engineering Sciences program since August 2017 at ITESO University in Jalisco, Mexico.

I am developing a simulator model to attend the transition between linear and circular economy model. The main objective is to help decision-makers to visualize policies before implementing in the real world, which at the end saves money and allow them to evaluate long-term changes in their own organizations.

This simulator is based on 4 perspectives: Service Logic-Dominant, Ecosystem Services, Agent-Based Modeling, and System Dynamics. The main idea is to find services between the supply chain actors in order to implement the circular economy (CE) in their own processes. The reason to design a simulator is to convince stakeholders, customers, and politicians the benefits of CE [1].

I have chosen as a case study the food banks. In Mexico there are around 58 food banks all over the country. Specifically, in Jalisco, there are 5 food banks which attend around 123,000 people. Jalisco Sin Hambre (Jalisco without hunger) is a non-profit organization composed of government institutions, private and public universities, society entities and private enterprises, which its mains objectives are to improve the food banks processes and to increase the food donations from producers.

The current status of the research is to implement the simulator and next, to find some CE policies that improve the food donations for people in food insecurity. Observing the entire process as itself, I could notice that there is an amount of food waste every time the food is separated in order to form the food bags. This food waste is transported to a composting location, which at the end the transportation is an extra process that generates pollution and expenses. 

Thinking in CE, I propose to develop a food waste recovering cluster next to the food banks in order to collect organic waste, process it, and to generate biogas and compost for the people, and for the food bank operations.

The hypothesis of implementing this idea is that: the network implementation will contribute to reducing pollution in nature; improving the living quality of people in poverty by employing them and teaching them how to grow up their own food; increasing the food donations by giving to the producers the compost itself as payment; reducing the operation costs in the food bank by using the biogas at the bakery and tortilleria processes; and finally the implementation of new government policies that facilitate the CE adoption in our country.

[1]   E. Guevara-Rivera, R. Osorno-Hinojosa and V. Zaldívar-Carrillo,  “Hybrid service simulation model for Circular Economy implementation” in Modeling for Sustainable Food-Energy-Water Systems, 9th International Congress on Environmental Modeling and Software, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO June 2018.

Comments (4)

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How can this be improved?
Laura Scherer
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  • Cool research project! How many kg of organic waste does one food bank produce on average per day? Is it sufficient for let’s say a biogas plant?
    Perhaps other organic wastes from the food bank and its surroundings could be incorporated as well, for example the food wastes from nearby restaurants or the citizens.

    Edna Guevara
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  • Definitely, as the food bank in my case study is in a small community, it will be necessary to collect more food waste from citizens and nearby producers, also this region is dedicated to grow cattle for the production of meat and dairy products. So, they generate manure that can be used also for the biogas plant.

    How can this be improved?
    Fadli Fadli
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  • This is will really helpful for the decision maker to visualize their policy. is this a fix model, or you should tailored based on your industry sector, location, policy, etc?

    Edna Guevara
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  • Its tailored for the case study, however, the simulation is based on a more general methodology, that it could allow generating other simulators for more case studies.