The Food Waste Recycling Process
What food can you recycle?
You are able to recycle a number of different types of food waste, including:
- Uneaten food
- Out of date food
- Teabags and coffee
- Fruit and Vegetable peelings
- Dairy products of any kind (including egg shells)
- Meat and fish – including the bones
It is vital, however, that you do not include non-food items in your business food recycling containers. This includes:
- Packaging of any kind
Why is food recycling important?
Food Recycling is becoming increasingly important in protecting our environment. Ensuring your general commercial waste and food waste are separated helps reduce disposal in landfills.
While food is biodegradable when disposed of in landfills, the process produces large amounts of carbon dioxide, which is a significant contributor to global warming. Indeed, these emissions can be put on the same level as those from cars and fossil fuels.
To avoid this, your food waste should be placed into secure containers which ensure no emissions go into the atmosphere before being transported away to undergo an environmentally-friendly process call Anaerobic Digestion.
Anaerobic Digestion of food waste
Anaerobic Digestion is the process in which food waste is broken down to produce biogas or biofertiliser. In order to achieve this, all food waste will be transferred into a sealed, oxygen-free tank called an anaerobic digester.
The process of producing biogas and biofertiliser then occurs as a natural result of being in a container with no oxygen. Biogas is created throughout the process, and can be used to fuel generators which generate renewable energy, while a nutrient-rich biofertiliser is left at the end of the process and is used on farmland in place of fossil fuel-derived fertilisers.
If all food waste produced in the UK underwent the process of anaerobic digestion, we would be provided with enough energy to heat 740,000 homes for a year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.9 million tonnes each year, the equivalent of removing 700,000 cars from the road.
How food waste recycling can benefit your business
Alongside the incredibly positive environmental impact anaerobic digestion has, ensuring your food waste is correctly recycled can provide numerous benefits to your business as a whole:
- Stay ahead of regulations. Scotland and Northern Ireland have laid out stricter regulations on businesses producing food waste in recent years, and this example is one England and Wales are expected to follow. Having a comprehensive food waste collection strategy in place now means you’ll be one step ahead of any regulations and won’t have to rush into making dramatic changes or risk fines in the future
- Save money. Sending waste to landfill is typically the most expensive option for business waste, recycling your food waste can dramatically decrease the amount sent, reducing your overall costs as a result.
- Showcase your environmental credentials. Today, consumers have higher expectations than ever regarding environmentally-friendly disposal of waste. Promoting the fact that you are doing everything possible to minimise the environmental impact of your business will provide a much-needed competitive advantage in a business world which is more competitive than ever
- Motivate your employees. More than ever, people wish to work for a business which shares their values. A strong environmental policy will give you a competitive advantage when hiring workers who care about protecting the environment, as they feel they are part of something bigger.