Proceedings

Is There a Free Lunch in Food Waste

Evans, T. – TIM EVANS ENVIRONMENT

(free)

Food waste is a big issue. Some post-harvest waste and some food waste from overbuying, etc. and expired sell-by dates might be avoidable but some food waste is unavoidable. Landfilling is undesirable because of climate change emissions and leachate. The net calorific value of food waste is small because of the high moisture content so incineration is a poor option. Kerbside collection (for composting or anaerobic digestion) has the issues of participation rates, physical contaminants and competition between treatment facilities, which drives down gate fees perhaps to the point of non-viability. Using food waste as a free lunch for pigs (after proper cooking) has a good carbon footprint but it is largely forbidden in the EU. Under-sink food waste disposers have high participation rates and deliver contaminant-free AD substrate to wastewater treatment works and improve the carbon to nutrients ratios in the wastewater. The biogas yield per household using a FWD is approximately twice that per household without FWD. The volume of wastewater does not increase and neither does the load because of the power of in-sewer bio-transformations. The data show it is a free lunch for WwTW (and it does not affect sewers adversely), which is the reason that advanced thinking cities in the USA and Europe are encouraging citizens to use their FWDs. The paper presents the data.

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