Recycling Food Waste | Nationwide Waste Services

Recycling Food Waste

When it comes to food waste, there are some astonishing figures.

In the UK, the total amount of food waste we throw away each year is estimated to be around 15 million tonnes with roughly 7.2 million tonnes accounted for by UK households alone, at a cost of roughly £12 billion a year. With most of the waste still being fit for human consumption at the time of disposal, it is obvious that the greatest impact on both the environment and from a cost perspective, for both consumer and country, would be for the prevention of food waste at source.

Where there is food waste, however, treatment by either in-vessel composting or anaerobic digestion to create biogas for green power generation, is a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution than landfilling which creates methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

Anaerobic digestion

Anaerobic digestion is the process whereby biodegradable material, such as food waste (e.g. teabags, banana skins, bones etc.) is broken down by bacteria in the absence of oxygen into a usable biogas (approximately 60% methane, 40% carbon dioxide and tiny amounts of water vapour, nitrogen, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide), and also a bio-fertiliser. The biogas is then used to generate electricity and the bio-fertiliser used in farms as part of a nutrient management plan.

In-Vessel Composting

In-Vessel composting involves the shredding of food waste, and garden waste, and placing it in an enclosed system for approximately 3 weeks at temperatures of around 70°C. The high temperatures at this stage both kill any harmful microbes and also speed up the process of breaking down the biodegradable material, before being left outdoors for a couple of months before turning into a compost. This recycled compost has a variety of beneficial applications, but is mostly used as a soil conditioner to improve not only the structure of the soils it is used on, but also to help reduce disease, improve moisture and nutrient content.

food waste collection

We at Nationwide Waste Services are able to offer a dedicated food waste recycling collection service. For more information and prices, please call us on the number above or click for a trade waste quote and one of our experienced team will help you with your requirements.