Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Food Waste Recycling

Sending our rubbish to landfill sites continues to be a major topic for debate as proposals for wind farms and incinerators are becoming more common.

At present, the Local Government Association estimates that we offload twice as much rubbish into landfill sites than Germany does, although Germany has a larger population. Due to the fact that land available for landfill sites is running out, pressure from Brussels and Westminster is making the use of these sites more expensive, which in turn is increasing the pressure to recycle our waste.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has introduced legislative changes aimed to cut down the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill and improve recycling. A major part of the change is the prevention of food waste heading to landfill. Bespoke vehicles that utilize anaerobic digestion provide a totally green service that also offers a viable environmental and economic waste solution. Such a service is able to handle packed and naked food waste, and has proved to be a great success working with 68 Waitrose stores throughout the UK.

Why recycle your food waste? 

Methane is produced by decomposing food waste, and it is in actual fact 22 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. Instead of letting food break down in this way, it can be converted into biogas that generates electricity through anaerobic digestion (AD). The only by-product produced through AD is a nutrient rich liquid fertilizer.
  • Methane from food waste is 22 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
  • Recycling food waste generates renewable energy, so is even better than carbon neutral.
  • 40 percent of the 14million tonnes of food waste generated in UK each year goes to landfill.
  • By using AD to process food waste we are preventing 905kg of carbon emissions per tonne of waste entering the atmosphere.
  • Government’s waste policy review announces plans to support development of AD technology in the UK.
What is AD?
Anaerobic digestion (AD) breaks down organic matter using naturally occurring microorganisms. This natural biological process results in the production of a valuable fertilizer as a by-product of producing biogas, a sustainable source of energy.  To convert the biogas into electricity and heat a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engine is used. Compared to sending waste food to landfill AD processing prevents 905kg of carbon per tonne of food waste being released into the atmosphere.
It is becoming increasingly important that we consider not just how to reduce the waste we create, but also how we can use it, too. Waste is a resource, and when there is scarcity of resources, it is more important than ever to consider sustainability through a broader spectrum of material use.
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