Today, there’s a trend worldwide not only among agricultural producers but also by the food industry and companies dedicated to the protection of the environment, to look for new alternatives to generate sources of renewable energy that contribute to reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere among other things. One of these options that have become popular, especially in countries such as New Zealand, is the recycling of food waste to create bioenergy, which would turn the world into a place where organic waste is used more effectively and with a purpose.
But what is food waste recycling? In simple terms, it refers for example to the use of food remnants that are discarded at home and at food establishments in specific areas, as well as the vegetables that have been set aside after the harvest period. This is done to avoid throwing this food in garbage dumps as waste along with other inorganic and polluting materials, and instead, rescue it to be used as the raw material that will be transformed to produce clean and renewable energy, or as it’s currently known, bioenergy, to help enrich farmlands and reduce carbon emissions into the environment.
First large-scale food waste bioenergy facility
One of the initiatives that has given much to talk about in recent months is the construction of the first large-scale food waste bioenergy facility to take place in New Zealand. This project originates from the partnership of two companies, Ecogas and T&G Fresh, one of New Zealand’s largest fresh produce companies, to take over more than 300,000 tons of food waste generated annually in the region. The idea is to prevent said waste from reaching landfills and instead, transforming it through an anaerobic digestion process in bioenergy, which will help strengthen the agricultural work of the communities working with greenhouses, enrich crop soils and generate new jobs and economic growth for the region.
According to information published in the website Fresh Plaza, the facility is expected to be completed and operational by 2022, when more than 75,000 tons of organic business waste is expected to be recovered and food waste collected on sidewalks across the North Island to be transformed into renewable and sustainable clean energy.
One of the advantages of initiatives such as the food waste recycling is that beyond transforming organic waste into bioenergy, it considers the possibility that thousands of households can feed on enough energy for much longer, the production of clean biofertilizers that are more environmentally-friendly and thus care for agricultural soils more, while significantly improving the quality and growth of crops in greenhouses by eliminating tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide every year, which translates into a carbon-neutral circular economy solution.
In a circular economy, products and materials can be recovered and regenerated at the end of their useful life, to give them a new use and purpose. As a result, a circular economy also means a circular solution for plastic waste and a way to improve overall competitiveness and resource efficiency.
Today, some agricultural producers still believe that there’s no need to create food or plastic waste recycling programmes and that a linear economy model must be followed since they consider that strengthening a circular economy is unlikely. However, some see the issue from a different perspective and understand the importance of designing and creating bioplastics as well as strategies focused on circular plastic. To learn more about this topic, we recommend you read our article on circular plastic: what it is and its importance.
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