Restaurants, shops, hotels, hospitals and factories will at some stage have to make arrangements to deal with food waste.
Long gone are the days where everything was lumped into buckets and sent off for what was euphemistically termed ″pig swill″. For a start, much food waste that was sent to farms turned out to be downright hazardous even for pigs, and second, it was found that other ways of disposing of this kind of refuse were far more efficient.
With figures showing the huge waste of food in the United Kingdom, with anything from a third to a half of all food going to waste in some areas, it falls to household, businesses, local authorities, and waste management companies to cut down on waste.
According to the waste campaign group WRAP, the primary driver for cutting down on food waste – particularly in the food retail sector where waste can reach ridiculous levels – is the landfill tax. If food waste is disposed of in landfill as part of general waste, it soon becomes a very expensive activity for any organisation. This being the case, specialist food waste collections which avoid landfill should be encouraged.
The environmental advantages are clear to see, WRAP say. According to their study, when food waste is disposed of in the residual waste stream as part of landfill, it breaks down anaerobically and produces the greenhouse gas methane. With careful management, food waste can be broken down under controlled environments and this methane used as a means to generate power. Even then, this needs to be controlled, as the burning of methane in oxygen will produce carbon dioxide, as any chemist will tell you.
So, to keep things clean, this process is done by anaerobic digestion (the subject of another blog post) or by vessel composting. In these cases, the by-products can be applied to agricultural land and there is far less environmental harm.
In this way, with organised food waste collections and processing, this kind of refuse can be put to good use, and the UK’s diminishing landfill capacity is safeguarded.
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