Shorts Group / Waste management / The importance of food waste recycling

The importance of food waste recycling

Jun 06 in Waste management


The importance of recycling Food Waste

In the UK, we throw away a hideous amount of food each year. 1.6 million tonnes from retailers, 3 million tonnes from restaurants and 4.1 million tonnes from food manufacturers.

Commonly, food waste is put in a general waste bin and sent to landfill, where it is highly detrimental to the environment. Land-filled food can emit methane – a potent greenhouse gas that is 23 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. To reduce methane emissions, the EU landfill directive obliges local authorities to send less biodegradable waste to landfill.

The alternative is to separate food waste from general waste by putting it in a dedicated food waste bin. We then collect the food waste and turn it in to two very worthy products – agricultural compost and renewable energy.

How does it work?

We collect the food waste and send to a local plant for Anaerobic Digestion. This is a safe biological process where bacteria breaks down food waste and produces biogas and other bi-products, including a bio-fertiliser. Shorts Agricultural will then buy this fertiliser to spread on farmers’ fields.

Anaerobic Digestion turns the problem of food waste into two valuable resources:

  1. Bio-fertiliser that helps our farmers enrich the UK’s soils without the use of petro-chemical fertilisers, which are costly to the environment.
  2. Green electricity to power our local homes and businesses, generated from the very plate scrapings they put into their food waste bins only weeks before.

Each year the Anaerobic Digestion facility recycles 50,000 tonnes of food waste. Enough to fill 20 Olympic sized swimming pools