Category Archives: food waste

4 Smart Ways to Recycle Food Waste

The UN Food and the Agriculture Organization claim that each year nearly 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted across the globe. Food wastage occurs at the various levels of the food system, namely farming, processing, transporting, retailing, cooking, and consuming.

When this waste food gets to the landfills, the massive layers of organic waste decompose and produce greenhouse gases (GHG) such as methane that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas.


By diverting food waste away from the landfills we can reduce our carbon footprint, capture the renewable energy, and restore the essential nutrients back to the soil. Food waste is recyclable and hence must be used smartly in order to trim down the greenhouse emissions that come from landfills.

Here are four effective and environment-friendly ways to recycle food waste, reducing the cost and the pollution that is generated when the organic waste is hauled and disposed of.

1. Compost the Kitchen and Garden Scrap

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, almost 90 percent of garbage thrown away by households, cafeterias, and supermarkets is composed of recyclable food scrap. Moreover, a typical household generates nearly 474 pounds of food waste each year. When this organic waste is sent to landfills or the oceans, they not only consume space, but also release methane, adding to the greenhouse emissions.

Composting is one of the most undemanding and eco-friendly ways to recycle your food waste. Several cities have regular pickup vehicles that collect waste food, dried leaves, grass clippings, and organic yard waste to the recycling centers.

If your neighborhood or workplace has a common composting facility, diverting your domestic food waste there may be a good choice. Talk to your local waste hauler or recycling coordinator and understand the local composting facility regulations. For instance, composting facilities in Ohio accept food waste that is classified as per the Division of Materials and Waste Management (DMWM).

You may also consider starting your own onsite composting project that uses the following types of wastes.

  1. Greens – Grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, weeds, and coffee grounds and filters
  2. Food Leftovers – Eggshells, tea bags, and nut shells
  3. Browns – Dead leaves, wood chips, twigs, and fireplace ash
  4. Recyclable Packaging Material – Shredded newspaper, cardboard, and paper

Place your compost pile or the bin in a dry shady spot in your backyard and make sure it’s close to a source of water. Add the above-mentioned waste materials as and when they are collected and moisten them on a regular basis.

When the mixture decomposes and attains a dry, dark, and crumbly texture, it can be used to feed your kitchen garden vegetables or enrich your flower beds. In order to avoid odors and pests, avoid adding meat or high-fat waste, keep the system adequately aerated, and regularly mix the material in the compost bin.

Worms, namely earthworms and red wigglers can also be used for composting (vermiculture). These worms feed on the organic material and produce high-quality nitrogen-rich compost called castings.

If you live in an apartment and have limited space, you can set up a compost bin indoors, enabling you to convert your food scraps into nutrient-rich compost.

2. Donate Waste for Animal Feed

The United Nations estimates that if farmers and livestock owners fed their animals on the legally-permissible food waste, enough grain would be liberated to feed an extra three billion people worldwide. In fact, diverting leftover food to feed animals is placed in the third tier of the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, making it a safe and effective strategy for recycling food waste.

Every state has separate regulations with respect to donating food scraps for animals. For instance, a few states in the United States ban meat-and-dairy and high-salt products for animal feed as they can harm animals. Get in touch with your local waste recycler to determine the types of food scrap you can donate to a farm or a zoo.

Look for avid gardeners, farmers, and livestock owners in your neighborhood or at a local market and check if you can donate waste food that they can be used as animal feed or for composting.

Several recycling firms, namely Organix Recycling and Eco Food Recycling are coming up with swift and innovative ways to recycle waste fruits, vegetables, and bakery scrap from grocery stores and households to produce a nutritious animal feed. These recycling firms offer planned food waste collecting services for communities and individual houses based their requirements. Partnering with these firms will divert food waste from landfills, reduce your carbon footprint, and help you stay on the path towards zero waste.

3. Convert Food Scrap into Biogas

Over one-third of the food produced across the globe is either discarded or wasted. This food waste holds a huge untapped potential for generating energy, commonly referred to as waste-to-energy systems (WTE).

Anaerobic digestion uses microorganisms to degrade the organic matter in the food waste to produce methane, that can be used to generate electricity, fuel for transportation, and heat.

Biogas is a renewable and sustainable source of energy developed from organic matter such as waste residues of vegetables and fruits, scrap timber, and forest debris. Researchers have found an innovative way to capture all the energy trapped in the organic food waste, leaving behind very little waste for landfills and oceans. In this process, the waste is incinerated to produce a crude liquid that can be converted into biofuel. The residue is then treated to produce methane, that can be used as a source of electricity and heat.

A new facility in Colorado, namely the Heartland Biogas Project collects scrap food from the state and uses anaerobic digestion to convert waste into energy. Similarly, a French startup Waga Energy recently installed a food waste treatment plant in Saint-Maximin that is capable of converting household waste into biomethane, supplying energy to nearly three thousand households in the French territory.

4. Reuse the Food Packaging Material

Restaurants, grocery stores, and other food-service establishments generate a significant amount of food packaging material that is often wasted. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food containers alone contribute to more than 23 percent of the total material reaching the landfills in the United States.

Though getting rid of packaging material isn’t feasible for all kinds of food items, reusing or recycling strategies can divert them from the landfills, considerably reducing the toxic emissions.

The food packaging material, namely wrappers, cartons, and containers can be sent to recycling firms in order to produce useful paper products, namely corrugated cardboard, egg trays, magazines, and newspapers.

For instance, egg tray manufacturers recycle the waste cartons and the paper bags for making the paper pulp that is molded into the desired shape. Following the egg tray drying and hot press processes, the egg cartons can be reused for packing high volumes of eggs, cushioning them during transportation.

Similarly, an Italian design company, WhoMade has come up with an innovative solution to tackle food scrap. The firm has introduced biodegradable disposable plates made from food waste such as groundnut shells and carrot peels.

Over the past few decades, the growing concern regarding global warming and resource conservation associated with food wastage has persuaded both public and private organizations to take corrective measures to process waste in an eco-friendly manner. Use the above-mentioned strategies to effectively recycle food waste, diverting organic matter from the landfill and reducing the ensuing the GHG emissions.

Author: Rachel Oliver

Image credit: pixabay


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

20+ Shocking Food Waste Facts of America

Food waste is one of the issues currently facing the planet as a whole. America in particular tends to have a serious food waste problem because its consumerism is largely at the retail level compounded by the fact that the majority of Americans are more conversant with finished goods rather than the actual produce.

America therefore has a very high rate of food waste because people have developed a habit of buying excess food than what is actually needed or eaten per meal time. This article seeks to list 20+ shocking food waste facts about America.


1. The total food waste realized in America is as high the food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa relies on irrigation and minimal rainfall to ensure crops grow to maturity before harvest. After a series of short and long rainfall, there is produce realized which is fairly equal to the food waste of the whole of America.

2. More than a third of food produced in America becomes food waste. This is caused by the unconscious or conscious state of throwing food away as waste. Snacks half eaten as well as excess food purchased but not finished leads to the alarming percentage of food waste.

3. Food waste in America is realized at the consumer level. Most Americans eat at home, buy snacks or eat at a restaurant which is perfectly okay. However, food left on plates or the leftover burger or fries contribute to heightened food wastes.

4. In 2010, the largest component of municipal solid waste from garbage bins was food waste. The dumping of food is becoming rampant which is sad since there are people who still reside in the same country who lack adequate food.

5. America is home to the largest share of the 1.4 billion overweight adults in the world. This is quite ironic. America has the largest food waste in terms of metric tons and still, has the highest number of individuals who suffer from obesity and being overweight. It simply translates to a stalemate because in one household, there is overconsumption of food while in another; food is wasted and goes down the garbage bin.

6. Food waste in America is approximately at 50 million tons annually. The garbage collected in America is full of food waste from the American households which contributes to pollution, effective landfill management problems, and is hazardous to the environment. Most of these food wastes are in plastic bags and containers thus contributing to plastic pollution.

7. High levels of perishable food wastes in American farm leads to lower consumption. In a case where the farm produce goes bad in the farm or in the store, there is a high likelihood that there is reduced willingness to purchase the produce. This leads to a decrease in the consumption of vegetables and fruits which constitute the majority of vitamins and metals which are essential in human diets.

8. Most Americans realize there is a food waste problem but do not acknowledge that they are part of the problem. A large percentage of the American population is aware that the rate of increase of food waste is at an alarming rate. Nevertheless, they do not realize that the little acts they do goes a long way towards food waste, that is, buying food in excess and then throwing away what remains.

9. One in seven people is faced with food insecurity in America. The common stereotype is that food insecurity is only in third world countries and that in developed countries, there is sufficient food and wealth. This may not be the case in America. One in about seven people relies on the government through feeding programs translating to roughly 50 million people. Beside, the affected people are unable to provide for their families as a whole and so have to seek food stamps to survive.

10. A lot of the food waste realized comes from over-purchasing. Individuals buy items in bulk which is okay but fail to see the expiry date which then warrants the disposal of the already bad food, leading to wastes. In order to avoid this, in the case of bulk buying, then there should be effective means of storage like freezers and keen review of expiry dates.


11. There is loss of 650 pounds of food between the farm and the dining table. Normally, an individual should consume about 2000 pounds of food annually to stay healthy. Yet, there is a loss of pounds therein. This happens when there is poor storage of produce in the farm, stores and at home. Farm produce may overstay in the farm or the store and due to the high level of perishability, it goes bad.

12. About 20% of the farm produce is rejected in the retail stores due to poor quality standards. Farm produce that does not meet the set quality checks such as shape, color and packaging is normally removed from the stores. The result is loss of food that is suitable for human consumption. In light of this predicament, there are stores that are ready to accept the farm produce that has been rejected to salvage the produce and minimize food wastes.

13. In America only, about 25% of water is wasted because of food waste. Water is a scarce resource which should be utilized. In the course of farm produce, there is water that is constantly used for irrigation which would be termed as wasted if the farm produce is itself in the end, termed as wasted. In addition, there is a lot of water left running in taps during food preparation which leads to massive wastage of water in the long run.

14. There is a loss of about 640 billion dollars realized from food waste every year in America. The figure is alarmingly large which begs the need to save food and consume what one can consume.

15. About a half of Americans take home the left overs they left in the restaurants. This should be encouraged since this translates to less loss of food. In consequence of this, more individuals should seek to take back what they have left on dinner tables in restaurants in order to take it again, or to recycle the leftover. In the end, there is no food waste.

16. 40% of food in America is never consumed. This is brought about by the fact that there are certain crops which are majorly produced by America and are mainly exported to other countries. In the end, there is minimal consumption of the particular crop in the country. For instance, despite America being the largest producers of maize, most of it used for export and people still go hungry in the same country.

17. In 30 years’ time, the average calorie consumption will be at 3070 up from the current 2000. This is warranted by the fact that the current population consumes a lot of food which has brought about a heightened level of overconsumption. The increase is also attributed to the growth of the number of obese and overweight individuals in America since the 21st With the current trend, year 2050 will be graced by a lot of obesity which may lead to overconsumption.

18. Food wastes have led to an increase in the per capita income. The wastes in food translate to money loss when it comes to the American economy. In about 40-50 years, the per capita income has been on the rise owed to the fact that the rate of food waste is increasing annually.

Moreover, the population is still steadily growing and as such, the number of individuals who are obese and overweight is also on the increase. As a result, the government has to invest a large chunk of the financial budget on food and the amount keeps increasing annually.

19. America has realized that food wastes can be an avenue for creating value on other sectors of the economy. American has realized that wasted food can provide compost which can be converted to give energy. Wasted food can also be processed into animal feeds in the agricultural sector. With such initiatives, compost can be used for energy production and animal feeds can support the agricultural sector.

20. Food waste in America produces billions of tons of carbon dioxide, augmenting global climate change. Emissions related to food waste considering production, transportation and processing of food in America simply translate to worsening of climate change and increased global warming.

21. There are millions of individuals who reside in America who face malnutrition. Those that are not privileged enough to have a constant supply of food end up facing this nutritional disorder. It is for this reason that feeding programs exist.

References: TheDailyMeal
Image credit: pixabay, flickr


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Environmentally Friendly Denmark [Infographic] – Conserve Energy Future

Since I live in Denmark, I am surprised how to deal with food waste. Most supermarkets have very high last hour discounts (up to 80%) and often give free food at the end of the day, so as to avoid waste.

Not only supermarkets are aware of the waste of food, but also schools, since 2013, they spend time teaching their students everything they need to know about food waste. This means that for them it is equally important to learn math and take care of the planet. Thus, the parents of the future have learned from a very early age to not waste the food.

In addition to teaching them the theory of food waste, they take them to farms and factories so they can see where the food comes from and how it is produced. This has not only an educational purpose, but also seems very fun for the student as they interact and learn things.

At the same time, Denmark is far ahead from other countries when it comes to organic food and most of the supermarkets’ products are organic.

Thanks to campaigns based on promoting organic food and food waste, Danes have managed to get rid of “non-organic” products, regardless of the price of new organic products, and this has been addressed by introducing all organic products as ” luxury”. We all love luxury things, and even more when they contribute to our health and the health of our planet.

What makes them even more aware, is their new application called ‘ToGoodToGo’. With this application, restaurants and supermarkets register foods that they will not use so that the users can fill their basket with everything they need for only 20 or 40 kr. As a result, the loss of food is reduced in great results. People who spend less always have good food in the table, for less money.


Grace Cook – Marketing Manager in Trendhim

Environmentally friendly Denmark infographic


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

The Cost of Wasted Food [Infographic]

More food is being produced by the global economy now than has ever been before. With greater profit than at any time in history, you could be forgiven for thinking that feeding the world is no longer an issue. However, you’d be very wrong. In the UK and across the world, we are wasting more food than ever before.

The implications are not just financial. Humans, animals and the planet itself are affected.

  • The UK wastes the equivalent of 1.3 billion meals every year
  • YET, 590,000 people in the UK used food banks in 2016/17
  • £10 billion worth of food thrown away by households each year
  • BUT, 60% of people believe they never waste food

Financial Experts Money Guru have created an infographic that shows some of the shocking statistics on food wastage. It just how much change is needed.

Small changes can be incredibly effective. For example, the UK’s 19 million families currently throw away 24 million slices of bread every day, but if the whole loaf was utilized, the difference would be massive.

Unfortunately, the UK is not alone in having a food wastage problem. Developed countries across the globe contribute to a huge amount of food wastage. It’s a common misconception that the food industry is to blame, with major corporations chastised for their processes. However, research shows that the majority of food waste is attributable to households.

It’s time to think more about what individuals can do to cut down their own food wastage. So many everyday items get thrown away as soon as they pass the “sell by date”, when they could still be used. There are 2000 operating food banks in the UK and 8 million people are struggling to afford daily meals. There is clearly a massive imbalance and one we can all help to change.

The cost of food wastage


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)