Commercial Food Waste And The Environment

Commercial food establishments today are doing a good job of diverting their waste to private firms who compost or dry the waste into usable product's. Food waste in our landfills while rotting creates methane gas which is thought to be 70% more potent by volume than carbon dioxide.  Landfills are the largest human made source of methane and food scraps are huge makers of it. In fact 1 ton of food scraps that finds its way into the landfill create 5-6 tons of Carbon Dioxide.

Organizations like Sustainable Waterloo Region have done a good job of working with companies to lessen their carbon footprint by changing the way they go about certain parts of their business. Recyclable plates, utensils and the use of reusable coffee mugs are just a few things they have changed. The days of plastic plates, forks and styrofoam cups is in the past, today they are using biodegradable products such as cellulose and other plant based materials, materials that can be composted or reused.

Can commercial food establishments do more?

Commercial food establishments like restaurants, convention centers, shopping malls, hotels, senior residences and yes even office buildings and prisons rely on 3rd party companies to come and pick up the waste.  Generally this might happen weekly and the establishment is charged by weight and the removal fees are not cheap. These removal companies are emitting green house gasses every time they start their large trucks to do pickups.

By macerating and dewatering food waste on site they can reduce the food waste by 80% of its volume and it’s mass by 60%, this reduces the amount of pickups and cost by 80% on average. Further benefits of dewatering are reduced handling and storage space, the dewaterers are compact and take up very little space and 100 kilograms of food waste takes less than 10 minutes to process. Most importantly the food waste is at the perfect moisture content for composting. One establishment has almost 10 tons of food waste removed from their premises every month at a cost of roughly $7500 by dewatering it would be down to 2.2 tons and  $1650 a month for a savings of approximately $5800 a month or  close to $70,000 a year. Payback on a dewaterer would be 4.8 months if they installed 2 to handle their food court it would be 9.6 months. This would be a small price to pay for our environment.


Why compost?

 By reducing the amount we send to landfill it extends the life of the landfill, and eliminates the need to develop new ones. Protects the environment from green house gas, benefits the environment as compost enriches the soil and reduces dependency on chemical fertilizers. By reducing the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of it reduces truck traffic avoids smelly bins that attract vermin and they have a self sustaining solution to organic waste. Large convention centers etc can become 100% self sustainable in regards to food waste by using in vessel composters on site. In vessel composters work more eficiently and compost quicker without weeds, smell and vermin.


Sources: mass environmental &