Opinion: Where there’s muck, there’s brass

There is more than one way to manage food waste. Find a solution that works for your business and meets your operational needs, writes Simon Frost, chair of CESA.

Is kerbside collection of waste the best way? The reliance on HGV trucks and the resultant energy consumption and pollution create their own issues. On the other hand, there are food waste management technologies that offer affordable and ‘green’ solutions. On-site systems also reduce food waste to landfill, lowering methane emissions.

Increasingly, there are systems that convert food waste into useful, even profitable by-products. For example, the use of food waste disposers (FWDs), which grind the food waste into small particles that can be flushed safely into the drainage system, can increase the energy or bio gas yield from sewage.

Then there are dewaterers. These squeeze water out of waste after it has been ground down by, for example, an FWD. While the water can safely go down the drain, the dry residue can be turned into high-energy compost using in-vessel composters (IVCs).

Up to 70% of drain blockages are caused by a build-up of FOG (fats, oil and grease) and other organic matter.

Other solutions include closed vacuum systems and pumped waste systems, which pump the waste to holding tanks where it can be processed, and food waste digesters, which use a formulation of micro-organisms to convert food waste into a non-toxic liquid that is safe for drains and sewage systems.

Up to 70% of drain blockages are caused by a build-up of FOG (fats, oil and grease) and other organic matter. The three methods of controlling FOG are grease traps, grease removal units and biological (bio-remediation) systems. The ‘harvest’ from grease traps and grease recovery units can be used for anaerobic digestion and biogas production.
If you are looking for information about the various waste management technologies available, Resource Efficient Scotland’s ‘Guide to Managing Food Waste’ outlines many of the equipment options.

It was drafted by CESA and, although designed primarily for Scottish foodservice operators, it provides a useful resource for any catering business. Training will be essential, whatever system is chosen.




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