Food Waste generation stream

 Food Waste is an issue that is becoming a more and more commonly discussed topic. Many NGO’s tries to address that issue, so that it reaches a significant part of our population. In fact Food Waste it is one of the biggest paradoxes of today’s world. By only gathering discarded food from the US and the EU we could feed all 1 billion of hungry people in the world. But of course it is not possible. We need to find some better ways to manage the logistic side of the whole food chain system. This is why it is recommended to first understand what are the streams of food waste generation.

Thanks to a research carried out by AgRecycle, Inc., a company that deals with organic recycling and sells biodegradable soil amendments, we were able to see what are percentages of different food waste generation streams. Unfortunately the data was made on an average from 3 east coast states: Georgia, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The major generation stream is industrial (56.6%) that is followed by Institutions (16.7%), Food/Grocery Stores (9.9%), Hospitals (8.7%), Commercial (5.9%) and Prisons (2.2%). As far as food and grocery stores are concerned the volume was determined from what the stores considered to be waste. Percentage does not include what was donated to food banks and other community organisations.

You realise that most of it is generated on the industrial level. The company explained that what was considered industrial was “Any material that is generated either as a byproduct from the manufacturing of materials or any material that is discarded because of quality concerns.” The second place is given to institutions, which include educational facilities that are the main target group for Food Recovery Network.

Food Waste is the second biggest (34.76 million tons) Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) after paper and paperboard (71.31 million tons). All organic waste amounts up to almost 70 million tons. The biggest problem with food waste is the fact that even that it is one of the top MSW streams it is the least recycled. Paper and paperboard is recovered in 62.5% as percent of generation, while food is recovered only in 2.8% and the rest goes to landfills and release methane, a gas 25 times more potent than CO2.

posted by Piotr Wielezynski

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