The importance of food waste management is an imperative as concerns for a sustainable future are addressed even more so today. In this post, we examine the different approaches to food waste management from varying degrees such as small business initiatives (Silo by Joost Cafe), a multiple small business in a large system (Sydney Market), and more complex environments (like the city of Milan and Paris)
As of 12 years, Sydney Markets has saved around a total of $20 million on landfill costs by redirecting 6,000 tonnes of waste into recycling and packaging, and avoiding the immediate route of proceeding to landfill. Furthermore, another 60 tonnes of polystyrene found from packaging in the markets are producing an income stream of $36,000 per annum. This is achieved by exporting these materials to be recycled in China and thus made into kitchen cabinets. [ABC News, June 2017)
A closer study of one of the ways that Sydney Market has declared its war on waste involves its partnership with Veolia Australia. Veolia is an organisation aimed at promoting a sustainable future for the urban environment, especially by working with heavy industry, commercial, municipal and residential systems, in regard to multiple forms of waste, water and energy consumption. Specifically, the waste from the markets are aimed at converting itself to electricity instead of compost.
A brief overview of the process follows that after trading hours at the market, the produce are sifted and sorted. The inedible and rotten materials are congregated to Greenpoint, Flemington, and the bulk then delivered to Veolia’s Earthpower management plant. The waste is encased in a large tank (12 metres in height) which disintegrates with the help of specific bacteria (and under specific temperatures and aerobic conditions) that aid in microbial digestions. Once the decomposition occurs, the Methane (CH4), consisting of hydro-carbons which are necessary to produce electricity-are then extracted and directed to specific pipes intended to produce energy for the grid. The remaining materials are further broken down and dried until they are ready to become fertilisers (which are very rich in nutrients and elements)
From this we discover great benefits of food waste management activity as well as greatly reducing the amount of landfill produced. We realise that there are benefits of the process which not only provide nutritious compost for the soil; but also address the issue of energy consumption and management by relying on biodegradable materials to produce electricity instead of non-renewable resources. David Clarke, Earthpower’s chief executive comments, “What’s remarkable is it can take minutes, where as in landfill it would take up to 30 years to degrade into methane….We’re exporting about 8,000-9,000 megawatts per year, and that can power 1,500-3,200 houses.” (ABC News, 2017)
Silo by Joost
Melbourne based cafe Silo by Joost boasts of achieving zero waste productivity by working in collaboration with Closed Loop, which is an organisation that as its slogan comments- “Helping…business save money and reduce waste.” By installing one of Closed Loops organic compost machine, it recycles materials locally on site to which Joost, the owner of the store comments of returning it the soil of his backyard as compost.
For more information on Closed Loop products and services,
click here: Closed Loop Products and Services
Furthermore, the philosophy of the store aims at productivity and sustainability, thus almost every component of the cafe is carefully selected keeping in mind the potential for recycling and management. Joost comments, “In this cafe, we don’t have any rubbish bins. We don’t accept anything in cardboard, we don’t accept anything in glass – so our milk comes in stainless steel vats, our whiskey comes in wooden barrels, all the produce comes in black returnable plastic crates. The only rubbish bin in the house is one made from recycled plywood.”
Paris and Milan
Cities like Paris and Milan have also taken the pursuit of a sustainable future, having partnered with Novamont (an Italian Bioplastic company) that develops a compostable bag, named MATER-BI in which to collect food waste in residential areas.
In order to propagate the country’s sustainability commitments at COP21, Paris is beginning to deliver aerated caddie bins, as well as biodegradable MATER-BI compost bags to 74, 161 households. Milan however, had already rolled out its own sustainability project in November 2012 consisting of delivering packages of MATER-BI bags, and fines for residents that failed to correctly organise their food waste at home. This has resulted in over 90 kilograms of food waste collected and thus the city achieving over 50 percent separate waste collection.
Sarina Locke. 2017. Sydney Markets sends rotting fruit and vegetables to generate electricity in war on waste – ABC Rural – ABC News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-06-06/sydney-markets-war-on-waste-and-queensland-failing/8572932. [Accessed 09 June 2017].
Gardening Australia – Fact Sheet: Closing the Loop. 2017. Gardening Australia – Fact Sheet: Closing the Loop. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3844409.htm. [Accessed 09 June 2017].
Resource Magazine. 2017. Paris rolls out separate food waste collection | Resource Magazine. [ONLINE] Available at: http://resource.co/article/paris-rolls-out-separate-food-waste-collection-11873. [Accessed 09 June 2017].
(2012), Silo by Joost: a Perfect Circle [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/food-and-drink/article/silo-joost-perfect-circle [Accessed 9 June 2017].
(2013), Sydney Markets Gallery: Pop Up Breakfast [ONLINE]. Available at: http://sydneymarkets.com.au/newsroom/gallery/2013-gallery/2013-pop-up-breakfast.html) [Accessed 9 June 2017].
Veolia Australia and New Zealand. (2017). Earthpower – Australia’s First Food Waste to Energy Plant. [Online Video]. 15 May 2013. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpY6G-ymqrA. [Accessed: 9 June 2017].