Industry has the severe problem to accumulate, treat and dispose food processing wastes and by-products. The main objective of many recent studies is to test innovative processes and technologies for recycling and upgrading these wastes for recovering high-value-added marketable materials in compliance with the European Sustainable Waste Management Guidelines and the principles of the "circular economy”. In particular, new, innovative and profitable management strategies for sludgy waste from tomato processing industries could be fostered in Campania. Alternative and valuable process chains are possible in which different players working together to “eco-friendly” recycle, reuse and promote tomato industry residual biomasses could obtain high value-added products with a sustainable approach. One of the possible added value product that can be obtained by tomato industrial processing waste is lactic acid, whose production could have a remarkable economic and ecological impact.
In this study we provide an estimate of the available tomato industry processing waste and related potential for lactic acid production in Campania, carrying out a survey on the more suitable production technologies. Maximum radius distance of industries from a possible/hypothetical centralized transformation plant according to the biomass availability and transportation facilities is calculated. Feasibility studies of eco-friendly processes able to convert tomato processing waste in lactic acid are considered, evaluating the actual amount, reuse or disposal in waste dumps or soil of the tomato pomace. The benefits of the correct management of tomato processing waste is considered, evaluating the possible economic revenue resulting from the proposed system.