For decades, non-renewable resources have been the basis of worldwide economic development. The extraction rate of natural resources has increased by 113% since 1990, which has led to overexploitation and generation of vast amounts of waste.
For this reason, it is essential that a sustainable development model is adopted—one which makes it possible to produce more food and energy with fewer fossil fuels, low pollutant gas emissions and minimal solid waste. Certain management policies and approaches, such as the strategy of a circular economy or bioeconomy, are oriented towards sustainable production and consumption.
The present study focuses on the importance of intensive horticulture in the Mediterranean region, specifically in the province of Almería (Spain). After having conducted a study of the main crops in this area, it was determined that the waste biomass generated presented strong potential for exploitation. With the proper regulatory framework, which promotes and prioritises the circularity of agricultural waste, there are several opportunities for improving the current waste management model.
In the same way, the results of the economic evaluation demonstrate that the alternative of self-management of waste biomass is profitable, specifically from tomato crops. Compost and green fertilizer production also prove to be a key strategy in the transition towards a more circular and sustainable agricultural production model. As for the said transition, government support is vital in terms of carrying out awareness campaigns and training activities and providing financing for Research and Development (R&D).