Food Glorious Food

Food is great: Obviously.

What isn’t so great is the stats.

With the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs releasing statistics that show that total UK food and drink waste is approximately 15 million tonnes a year, it shows that a great deal of food waste is still finding its way into the bin.

Whilst most of this is unavoidable – egg shells, banana skins, bones, tea bags and the like, it is clear that the sustainable re-use of such a large waste stream is of paramount importance.

Here, in the UK, we have become savvy recyclers. With the introduction of kerbside recycling and household recycling wheelie bins for the separation of individual waste streams, sustainability is now a part of our everyday lives. Yet, even though there is a host of information online about recycling, here, at Nationwide Waste Services, we field a lot of questions from our customers asking things like:

“What happens to waste food after I have thrown it away?”

“Where does food waste go?”

So, as the titular song ‘Food, Glorious Food’ from Oliver asks:

 “Peas, pudding and saveloys,

What next is the question?

There are many ways that food waste can be recycled with the two main ways being Anaerobic Digestion and In-Vessel Composting.

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic Digestion is the process of breaking down biodegradable material in the absence of air by micro-organisms called Methanogens. As the food waste – and garden waste – is broken down by a batch or continuous flow system (dependent on the waste stream), methane gas is produced and collected. This, in turn, is then converted into a biogas for green power generation and to heat fuels.

In-Vessel Composting

In-Vessel Composting involves mixing food waste with garden waste – a bit like The Good Life (remember the show?). The mix is then shredded and placed in an enclosed system for approximately 3-4 weeks at temperatures of up to 70°C to both speed up the process and to destroy any possible harmful microbes. The material is then left outside for a couple of months and turned regularly before being used as a soil conditioner.

15/07/2014 14:21:24

by Jonny in Recycling News

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