Food Waste In Landfills What Happens – Americans waste a huge amount of food: about 133 billion pounds a year, or about a third of all food produced in the US. In addition to wasting money and throwing away a precious resource, all of that waste creates a huge Environmental problem. Food waste often ends up in landfills, where it rots and releases large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
Scientists have been searching for solutions to the problem of food waste, and now researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, believe they have found a possible solution. They say that by making use of a couple of simple chemical processes, hydrothermal liquefaction and anaerobic digestion, we could turn food waste into green biofuels.
Food Waste In Landfills What Happens
The point is to “turn food waste into a valuable resource,” Roy Posmanik, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell and lead author of a recent paper on the research, told NBC News MACH in an email.
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Hydrothermal liquefaction involves heating food waste under high pressure, essentially pressure cooking it, to create an oil that can be refined into fuel.
Next, the aqueous food waste that remains after liquefaction undergoes anaerobic digestion, a process in which microbes break down the waste into biogas that is mostly made up of methane and carbon dioxide. This converted gas can be used to produce electricity and heat, according to the researchers.
There are other methods to capture methane directly from landfills and processing facilities, but combining hydrothermal liquefaction and anaerobic digestion is a more efficient way to process food waste, Posmanik said. “We are talking about minutes in hydrothermal liquefaction and a few days in an anaerobic digester,” he said in a written statement.
Posmanik envisions a day when food waste from homes, supermarkets, restaurants and other institutions will not be trucked to landfills but to treatment plants.
Reduced Food Waste
Food scraps are seen in a recycling bin at MoMo’s restaurant on April 21, 2009 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan Archive / Getty Images
How much would it cost to process food waste this way? Posmanik told MACH that more research will be needed to come up with an answer. But, he added, “government incentives for renewable energy credits can make a big difference.”
Darby Hoover, a senior resource specialist with the food and agriculture program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York City-based nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, expressed doubts. She told MACH that hydrothermal liquefaction may not be the best solution because it focuses on maximizing the amount of energy extracted from food waste rather than the amount of nutrients that can be recovered and returned to the soil.
“I would prefer to see more emphasis on traditional composting, as well as anaerobic digestion that results in digestate that can be used in beneficial ways for soils,” she said. “Generally speaking, focusing on energy production is not as ecologically important as focusing on nutrient recycling.”
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But Emily Broad Leib, director of the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said the plan shows promise.
“In particular, one of the challenges with anaerobic digestion has been that many AD facilities are unwilling or unable to process food scraps at this time,” Leib told MACH in an email. “If this process is specifically tailored to use food scraps…that could help increase the capacity to process food scraps and really fill that gap, especially if it’s cost-effective.” The problem of food waste has been around since technology allowed us to produce more food than we really need; and like many other environmental problems, it cannot be solved until each of us gets involved.
However, while the bad news is that we have created a real problem, the good news is that it is totally solvable and preventable with minimal effort on the part of end consumers.
Regarding solid waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, each person in the US produces approximately 4.6 pounds of garbage per day, which means 230 million tons of “trash” produced each year.
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Meanwhile, in its latest discovery, Unenvironment shares a startling report on food waste: The US alone absorbs nearly ⅓ of the world’s food waste, specifically 66.5 million tons.
Run the numbers and you’ll see that food waste alone takes up 29% of the amount of trash each year.
In Japan, nearly 20 million tons of food is thrown away every year, 9 million of which is still usable and not yet past its expiration date.
In the world, approximately 1,300 million tons of food are thrown away each year, becoming food waste, also according to the site.
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This amount of food waste takes up ⅓ of the amount of garbage produced each year, and it shouldn’t be.
Organizations struggle to manage such a huge amount of waste, but it is still impossible to recycle everything, as it depends a lot on the nature of each type of garbage.
These are 9 surprisingly effective ways to reduce food waste, and they’re just good habits that anyone can easily adopt.
Just don’t overbuy. Oh really. My mom would always buy tons of cabbages or whatever vegetables were on sale at the market near our house. “Cabbage week is the healthiest thing of your life, honey,” she said, and I ended up having takeout because she couldn’t handle all that cabbage.
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It all went to the point where she kept buying things and eventually threw them away because there was too much to eat.
Buy enough to make sure they all get digested in her stomach. This food waste solution helps minimize food waste. It also keeps the numbers at the bottom of your grocery bills lower.
Here’s a fact about food that surprisingly many people don’t know: Food can become contaminated if it’s not stored properly.
If you have been using the freezing method all your life, there are other tips that you may find useful as well:
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“This apple tastes supreme, but the core with 99% edible pulp and 2 inedible seeds looks repellent, so I’m going to throw away the core.”
“The sweetness of these strawberries is divine, but I am going to cut off and discard the top, half is the edible pulp and half is the stem.”
If you somehow have one of these thoughts, you are contributing to the production of food waste more than you already are.
Remove the seeds and eat the whole apple. There are like 2 or 3 of them. She pulls out the stems with her hands.
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Stop asking these kinds of questions and start putting labels with storage dates. This is one of the best food waste solutions, especially for things in the fridge.
No more having to throw away food just because you’re not sure if it’s edible or not.
Food scraps may look unappetizing and unsuitable for serving on plates, but they don’t necessarily belong in the landfill. Want to learn an easy solution to food waste that takes care of leftovers? Here you have:
Fill the pot of vegetables or meat scraps with plain water, heat on low for 2-3 hours, and you have a delicious (and nutritious!) broth for risotto, soups, or even stews.
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Although this seems pretty obvious, many people still throw away their food, especially when it is close to its expiration date.
“Best if used by, Best by, Best by” are terms that indicate that a product is best used before that date, not the expiration date.
“Use by” meanwhile, can be a bit tricky to indicate. While it means “discard” date in the EU, it conveys “still usable but tastes worse after [date]” to consumers in the US.
Either way, for the sake of your health, please dispose of the product when the expiration date has passed.
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Leftovers can sometimes look quite…unappealing. I mean, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for you and you feel good. You deserve new food, not a boring tray of leftovers.
Make yourself a new casserole tray by adding more: bunches of vegetables, put some mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle some cheese on top to bake until golden brown.
If they are vegetables, add strips of baked chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper and eat as is or with cooked rice.
Isn’t that how the legendary pizzas were invented? The key to reducing food waste comes down to creativity.
Food Waste And Its Impacts On The Environment
So food waste is cut into small pieces in factories and broken down into plant food or buried in landfills to produce methane gas, a fuel source.
This could easily clog the drain and cause extensive damage to the drainage system, which is not designed to handle large amounts of solid food waste.
With a garbage disposal machine right under your sink, food waste can be pulverized and liquefied, making it easy for the system to deliver it to the right place.
There are plenty of garbage disposals on the market today, with different brands featuring their unique features. It is not easy to choose what you need from such a large collection.
From Table To Landfill, Food Waste Is Hurting The Planet
I recommend you check out this article for the most accurate reviews.
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