Food Waste

food waste

In much of the Western world (in America and Western Europe particularly), the amount of food that is wasted is appalling. There are people who starve to death all over the world and yet some communities literally throw away metric tons of food every single day. Although it is nearly impossible to recycle food that most often is dirty or goes bad, there are ways to use food waste as a way to produce biomass energy. One of these ways is through landfills where food often decomposes and produces natural methane gas to power plants.

Food Waste in Landfills

Every day there are different types of food that end up going into the trashcan and all the way to the landfill. Even though the process takes a long time, the decay will start to produce methane gas within the landfill. Combined, all of the waste from certain communities can actually produce a large quantity of methane gas. For many years the landfills sat dormant with many tons of methane gas within. Today, new technology allows people to pump the methane gas out of the landfills and bring them to power plants that are used to provide energy for communities. Therefore, the food waste in the landfills often produces the energy that allows people to live. While the proportions are poor, it is still a good sign that some of the waste can be brought back in the form of energy.

The landfills often provide very little to communities because they can negatively harm ground water and produce a number of other problems. Luckily, the advent of the pumping technology to get methane gas out of the landfills has allowed them to remain a viable way to dispose of waste.

Natural Fertilizer for Agriculture

Although food is definitely wasted in large quantities in much of the Western world, there are some parts that just cannot be eaten. The peals for bananas and other similar types of foods are often thrown away as they are not edible or desirable. Much of this waste can actually be utilized as fertilizer instead. Coffee grounds and many other items that you may not consider a good source of energy, can actually provide the natural fertilizer that you might need to produce vegetables of your own.

This is a great way for people to utilize the waste that they would not have otherwise been able to use. In many cases the food waste used for fertilizer are things that cannot be eaten and are thrown away without a second thought. Hopefully with time people will realize that they can use these food elements as fertilizer for other types of agricultural projects.

Food Waste as a Biomass Energy Source

Obviously the most effective way to utilize food waste is to allow methane gas to form so that pumps can extract it and provide energy for nearby power plants and communities. Nonetheless, there are many other ways that humans will need to utilize the great amount of food waste seen in the world.