5 Ethical, Sustainable & Eco-friendly Cost-Saving Tips

Consumers are no longer solely interested in catching a great deal. In fact, it’s the quick and cheap, disposable living mindset that has put the world in such a precarious state. Studies have shown that a business’s impact on the world plays a key role in their purchasing decision. Here are five ethical, sustainable, and eco-friendly cost-saving tips to help you cut back on your spending, and your carbon footprint.

Green SMEs

Evaluate your Utility Providers

Take a look at your utility providers to see what they’re doing to make a positive impact on the world around them. Many energy service providers offer special rates and rebates for lower consumption. Using Energybot, you can contrast and compare providers in your area. You can visit their website to find the most affordable, eco-friendly option for you.

In areas where providers are limited, you can still look at their environmental initiatives and programs that will save you money while making a positive impact. Many utility providers conduct energy audits or provide rebates for swapping out appliances and faucets for eco-friendly versions.

Hit the Thrift Shop

Online shopping makes it easy to get anything you could dream of at an affordable rate. However, there’s a good chance that someone like you had a similar item and discarded it.

Hitting the thrift shop before shopping online will not only save you money but will also have a positive environmental impact. The clothes you buy online are manufactured and shipped from all over the world. This creates carbon emissions that have a detrimental effect. There’s a hidden cost to affordable online shopping; buy local whenever possible.

Eat Seasonally

Eating food from local sources is better for the environment and the economy. By ensuring that your money stays in the local economy, you’re stimulating growth that will ultimately benefit you over time. Furthermore, you aren’t paying to have food manufactured, shipped, and stored from thousands of miles away.

Eating seasonal produce will help you save money on fresh food and improve the diversity of your diet. By consuming seasonal, local produce, you’re saving money, boosting the local economy, positively impacting the environment, and improving your health. It’s a win for all involved.

Be Water Savvy

Minimizing your water consumption will help keep your budget low and the environment thriving. Start by monitoring your consumption at home and making small changes. Shut the water off while brushing your teeth. Don’t rinse your dishes before putting them in the washer. Wait until you have a full load to do laundry.

To take it to the next level, swap your faucet and showerheads out with aerators and low-flow alternatives. Start collecting and reusing rainwater for gardening. Replace your hot water tank with a “tankless” alternative. Look at your meter usage and set reduction goals.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Recycling is a great initiative that can make an incredible difference in the environment when done correctly. However, recycling is just one of the “Three R’s” to remember.

Circular-Economy

 

Reduce and reuse often go hand-in-hand. Reduce your packaging consumption by buying food in bulk and using reusable grocery bags. Before you recycle something, think about ways to give it new life. Mason jars can be used to store dry goods and pack lunches rather than using plastic containers. Keep a few large jugs handy to fill with water, rather than adding to the single-use bottle problem.

There are plenty of ways to lower your spending while taking care of the environment. Use a budgeting app like Mint to gain awareness about where your money is going. Then, use a carbon footprint calculator to evaluate your consumption. By making some simple changes to your lifestyle, you can limit harmful spending.

Food Waste Management

The waste management hierarchy suggests that reduce, reuse and recycling should always be given preference in a typical waste management system. However, these options cannot be applied uniformly for all kinds of wastes. For examples, food waste is quite difficult to deal with using the conventional 3R strategy.

Of the different types of organic wastes available, food waste holds the highest potential in terms of economic exploitation as it contains high amount of carbon and can be efficiently converted into biogas and organic fertilizer.

There are numerous places which are the sources of large amounts of food waste and hence a proper food waste management strategy needs to be devised for them to make sure that either they are disposed off in a safe manner or utilized efficiently. These places include hotels, restaurants, malls, residential societies, college/school/office canteens, religious mass cooking places, communal kitchens, airline caterers, food and meat processing industries and vegetable markets which generate food residuals of considerable quantum on a daily basis.

anaerobic_digestion_plant

The anaerobic digestion technology is highly apt in dealing with the chronic problem of food waste management in urban societies. Although the technology is commercially viable in the longer run, the high initial capital cost is a major hurdle towards its proliferation.

The onus is on the governments to create awareness and promote such technologies in a sustainable manner. At the same time, entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations and environmental agencies should also take inspiration from successful food waste-to-energy projects in Western countries and try to set up such facilities in cities and towns.

The Specifics of A Shipping Container Environment

The use of recycled shipping containers has found excellent footing in today’s society. There are so many different ways that the current modern system has created a new dichotomy of agriculture. If you are curious to understand the concept of the these containers and the specifics that come with them, keep reading!

Concept of Shipping Container Environment

This is the environment where old shipping boxes get used. They get planted crops and make sure that the food production would reach the market fresh and in the right order. There are many advantages to using such environment.

Advantages of Shipping Container Farming

A shipping container is an environment created to provide a complete farming experience and crop production system that aims to create a system that works all year round.

The yearly production is genuinely a pleasant experience as the countries can produce internally and importation of products as well as smuggling activities could be reduced.

The system uses an intelligent and super-efficient LED lights or grow lights that can substitute the sun’s rays. The entire container is equivalent to a farm that can produce up to two acres of crops.

The inside of the farm allows the produce to grow in an insulated environment that is around 40′ by 8′ by 9.5′. Most of the regions that would benefit from the farm system are the cold weather system countries. In these countries, producing food crops is a big problem. Shipping is also costly since importation is the only source of food.

With the use of farming containers, importation is cut down. The cost of using and maintaining a farming container is still cheaper by at least three times compared to the average consumption of most industrial food crop producers. It takes an average of kilowatts per hour of energy daily to maintain the farm. However, it is still more cost-effective to do it this way, especially for cold countries or those countries that have less agricultural lands available for them.

The price of obtaining a shipping container farm is not low. However, this price is worth the investment as the production is either increase or made possible. It is also more advantageous because it is less expensive to maintain a shipping container for him than one that is land-based or is naturally and agricultural land. On average, you should expect to spend around $50,000 to $85,000 to purchase one shipping container.

Some countries are considering requiring old shipping companies to donate or sell their old shipping containers to the governments in exchange for tax breaks. However, this policy is only a suggestion for most countries and is not yet get implemented.

Another great advantage of a shipping container for him is the fact that it is often compact. Because of its size or at least of its portability, there is a great advantage to it. It is easier to get transported from one place to another. It is also easier to have less footprint than using land-based crop production.

Zoning is also not a problem when it comes to containing her forms. Most of the companies that use this process can place their containers in both rural and urban areas. The reason behind this is the fact that there are no zoning laws against maintaining a repository in most areas.

Container farms also do not use new water. The creators of this modern technology got able to use recycled water to maintain the irrigation system within the container farms.

Vertical Growing: The Best Part of Container Farming

The best part of container farming is the fact that it uses a vertical system to grow the crops. Environmental sensors get used during the cycle of growth of the plants. These sensors allow for the farm system to control all of the essential factors in growing the crops.

The factors such as temperature, airflow, nutrient levels, humidity, as well as the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels get controlled.

The Future of Agriculture

Container farming can get considered as the future of agriculture. It provides for a modern and straightforward approach to crop production that reduces waste and cost for food suppliers. Importation could be a problem of the past for countries that are unable to produce their crops. However, since trade is a fundamental economic aspect of most countries, that will not fully illuminate the land-based agricultural production of crops.

Sustainability Standards in Oil Palm Industry: An Overview

The palm oil industry is particularly involved in the development of sustainability standards. Driven by growing global demand, palm oil production has expanded rapidly in the last few years. Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil in the world, and its popularity has grown even more with the emergence of new market opportunities in the biofuels sector, in addition to its traditional food and oleochemical uses.

This strong growth has unquestionably contributed to the economic development of the main producer countries – Indonesia and Malaysia – which account for 87% of global production. Palm oil cultivation provides income for many smallholders, whose produce accounts for around 40% of world palm oil output.

Environmental and Socio-economic Concerns

However, the expansion of palm oil cultivation has also generated serious environmental concerns. It results in tropical deforestation and thus has a major impact on biodiversity loss, with the decline of emblematic species such as orangutan in Southeast Asia. It contributes to climate change through deforestation, but also through the conversion of peatlands, which are of vital importance in soil carbon sequestration.

The huge forest and bush fires in recent years in Indonesia which are associated with clearing lands for agricultural or forestry plantations caused severe air pollution and public health problems across the sub-region. In addition, industrial plantations are sometimes responsible for polluting waterways, into which chemical inputs and processing plant waste are dumped.

Moreover, this expansion has sometimes resulted in social abuses and human rights violations, in the form of land grabbing by plantation companies at the expense of local and indigenous communities or of the exploitation of plantation workers.

Sustainability Standards in Oil Palm Industry

Condemnation of these abuses by NGOs and growing consumer awareness of the adverse impacts of the expansion of palm oil plantation have driven the development of sustainability standards. Such standards are aimed at transforming production practices in order to mitigate their adverse environmental and social effects.

The expansion of palm oil cultivation in Southeast Asia has also generated serious environmental concerns.

In 2001, representatives of the food processing and distribution sector launched a dialogue with WWF and plantation companies, leading to the creation in 2004 of the first voluntary sustainability standard in the sector, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

There are now 2.41 million hectares of RSPO-certified plantations, while sustainable palm oil accounted for 20% of world trade in this product. Meanwhile, several other initiatives proposing a vision of palm oil sustainability have emerged, positioning themselves as either a complement or an alternative to RSPO.

New Challenges to Overcome

The development of these initiatives demonstrates the growing awareness among producers, the industry and the public authorities of the need to transform the sector to enable it to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But this proliferation of sustainability standards itself poses new challenges, even though the environmental and social problems that motivated their emergence remain unresolved.

At the institutional level, the proliferation of sustainability initiatives since the creation of RSPO reflects a real fragmentation of the regulatory framework. This proliferation also raises the question of the articulation of these voluntary standards with the public regulations and national sustainability standards that producer countries have adopted.

Finally, measures to ensure the sustainability of palm oil cultivation need to bolster their credibility by guaranteeing better inclusion of the millions of smallholders, and by contributing in an effective, measurable way to mitigating the adverse social and environmental impacts of growth in palm oil cultivation. In this field, the role of collaborative and multidisciplinary research in providing strong evidence-based impact evaluation of standards is crucial.

Note: This is an excerpt from the book Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Oil Palm (Volume 2) published by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. You may buy the book from this link. Use code BIOEN10 to avail special discount.

Essential Vitamins for Vegan Diet

Eating a whole food plus plant-based diet is believed to contain all the nutrient required for your daily needs. Well, this is not entirely the case. When on a vegan diet, you might have the need to add supplements. Although some people advise vegans to not take supplements, this isn’t sound advice.

Vegans do not eat animal products and the practice of completely abstaining from eating animal products is called Veganism. When you are on a vegan diet, it means you are a strict vegetarian. All things animal and dairy like eggs, dairy products are completely abstained from.

Been on a vegan diet helps you lose weight. It is a good plan once in a while to use for overall body health. The possible downside to a vegan diet is there might be deficiency in vitamins in your body. There might be certain vitamins which your body can no longer produce because you do not eat the foods which your body gets this nutrients from.

This been said, there are some essential vitamins which vegan diets should have.

Vitamin D

This is called the fat-soluble vitamin. Its job is to aid the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from your gut. It is also one of the vitamins that guards important body functions like muscle recovery, memory, immune function and even your mood. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins to have in the body for overall sound health. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU daily. Sadly, most foods do not contain enough vitamin D to meet this RDA.

One way by which you can up your daily intake of vitamin D is by been in the sun for a short while. A short while is between 12-15 minutes. You cannot have sunscreen on if you want to take this route. The negative effect of this route is excess UV radiation so it might not be best for you. So, the other option to make sure you get the recommended dietary allowance is by taking supplements. Consult you doctor before taking any form of medication.

Iodine

This aids in your metabolism and healthy thyroid function. Iodine is so important that mental retardation can occur in infancy from a lack of iodine in pregnancy. The negative effects of iodine in adults results in hypothyroidism. It manifests itself in dry skin, tingling in hands and feet, depression, weight gain, forgetfulness, low energy levels, seemingly loss of mind. With a report of people on vegan diets having a 50% lower blood iodine levels, it is crucial that you increase iodine intake. The recommended dietary allowance of iodine for adults is 150mcg daily.

If you say you can just get the required dietary intake from plants, yes this is true but, the iodine levels in the plant is dependent on the iodine levels of the soil the plant is gotten from. So, it follows that plants grown in areas that are dry would have less iodine, while does closer to the sea would have more iodine. Asides from plants, seafood contains iodine, dairy products contains iodine. Unfortunately a vegan diet does not include these foods. So, consider taking an iodine supplement to boost your iodine levels. Consult your doctor before starting any medication.

Vitamin B12

Because most of the vitamin B12 we consume are gotten from plants grown in vitamin B12 rich soil, most vegan diets believe this is something they shouldn’t bother about. Vitamin B12 is gotten from foods like chlorella, mushrooms, nori, unwashed organic produce etc. Sadly, this isn’t entirely the case. It is more that probable to have low levels of vitamin B12 while on a vegan diet.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for producing the cells which transport oxygen to our blood. So, s deficiency of this vitamin isn’t best for your overall health. The negative effects of lack of vitamin B12 are fatal, like heart disease, bone disease, anaemia, infertility, nervous system damage etc. the recommended dietary allowance is 2.4mcg daily for adults. When on a vegan diet, to get this RDA, you have to take a supplement. Consult your doctor before starting any medication.

Iron

The negative effects of insufficient iron in the blood is anemia. The function of iron in the body is to create new DNA in addition to creation of new red blood cells, oxygen transportation in the blood. Need more energy? You need more iron. The recommended dietary allowance is 18 mg for adults daily.

Iron is divided into two; heme and non-heme. Non-heme is gotten from plants while heme is gotten from animal products we eat. Of the two, heme is easily absorbed by the body so, when on a vegan diet you are advised to increase your intake of iron. To increase it eat food which are rich in iron like peas, dried fruit, cereals, nuts, seeds, breads, beans, etc. You can choose to take an iron supplement, but it is best to do so on the recommendation of your doctor, as an increase iron intake can have negative effects on your health.

There are some foods which are a great source of the essential vitamins which a vegan diet needs. These foods are hemp, flax, chai seeds, tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds, calcium-fortified plant milks, yogurts, seaweed, nutritional yeast, spouted and fermented plant foods, whole grains, cereals, pseudocereals, choline-rich foods, fruits and vegetables.

Final Words

From the above said, the best vegan multivitamin 2019 would be one which is duly recommended by your doctor to help meet your daily dietary levels of any of the vitamins. Although is seems like the disadvantages of been on a vegan diets is numerous, the advantages are also numerous. Such as, weight loss. We all at one point in time want to drop a few pounds and going vegan is a good way to start. Make sure you get professional medical opinion before embarking on any form of diet and regular check ups to ensure you are fine.

How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil

Soil is important, whether you’re growing prize winning roses, landscape shrubs or your own fruit trees. All need to be in the right type of soil to get the nutrient they need. Even beginners can improve the quality of the soil in the garden. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Add Compost

Compost is not just for preparing the beds in the spring. Compost can be placed into your raised beds in the fall and improve their conditions over the winter. Because they will be sitting over the beds all winter, this doesn’t even have to be completely broken down compost either. A lot of the process will happen right there on the bed.

compost-organic-waste-farming

The concept of safe food using organic waste generated compost is picking up in South Asia

You can even use this method as a practical way of getting rid of all the waste you pick up from your garden in the fall. Just spread this over the bed and cover with mulch. The mulch protects the soil and the nutrients in the compost.

  1. Use Soil Amendments

Different soil amendments can be added to your soil to make it more suitable to your purposes. Choosing which soil amendment to use with your sol will be a matter of matching the proper solution to the problem you are facing. For example, there are amendment for increasing the nutritional content of your soil and others for improving the soil’s texture also known as tilth. For example, if your notice that the water is draining away too fast, you can add an amendment that allows you to soak up the moisture and the reverse is also true.

You can adjust the conditions of the soil to your exact needs with the right soil amendment. This could be compost or other rich matter that absorbs moisture or an amendment like greensand that allows water to drain away more easily.

Here are some common soil amendments that you can consider using for your garden as needed:

  • vermiculite (worm castings)
  • compost
  • greensand (or green sand)
  • grass clippings
  • cornmeal
  • alfalfa meal
  • straw
  • kelp meal
  1. Plant a Cover Crop

When you are thinking about improving soil quality, don’t forget the power of cover crops. This is not just an idea for large scale agricultural weed suppression. They are also a major benefit for backyard gardeners as well.

Cover crops are especially good for treating the soil as they provide oxygenation and improved nutrient availability. Alfalfa with its very deep root system pulls nutrients upwards from the lower levels of soil and make these more available in planting season. Then a couple weeks before you begin planting, this cover crop will be tilled back into the soil, increasing its organic composition and nutrient content.

This can also be used to improve the levels of nitrogen in the soil when using legumes as a cover crop. Fava beans, crimson clover and alfalfa are all good examples of nitrogen high crop covers. If you will not be growing anything particular over the growing season, you may consider a cover crop that protect and aerate your beds. (Pro tip: cherry trees are a great choice for the beginner backyard orchardist and benefit greatly from good soil).

  1. Try Lasagna Gardening

Also called sheet composting or “No-Till” gardening is another good way to improve your gardens soil quality and a perfect way to begin your raised beds and continue them. As you notice the quality levels of soil in your bed begin dropping down, you will keep adding new layers like lasagna which begins improving the quality of your soil from the top to the bottom. After the end of each growing season new layers are added.

For more information about your garden and the process of sheet composting, check out this article on the lasagna gardening method beginner’s guide. But there is one thing you will need to consider when using the lasagna method of composting. If you will be renovating your raised beds with the sheet composting method, you will need to wait a full 6-months before planting as you will need them to fully break down.

So this method will be best suited to those garden working with rotating beds or those gardeners who only plant one season. The following link included here will give some pointers on how this can be changed about and planting can be done sooner. Basically, if you would like to begin planting sooner, you will need to spread out a layer of compost and or healthy topsoil –– roughly 2 or 3 inches thick. You can then begin planting directly through this top layer.

  1. Prepare Raised Beds for the Winter

Never forget the importance of using the end of the year garden season is your opportunity to improve the quality of your soil in a number of ways. This end of the year ritual is like “closing down the shop” till spring. But, if you live in a warmer area of the country this might not even be necessary.

Here are some things to do. First, cut the plants as opposed to pulling them from the soil. Cutting the plant will allow the roots to rot away and this will make your soil lighter and airy. Then you can spread some compost out on the soil and cover this with a layer of mulch, the compost will be feeding nutrients back to the soil while the mulch will protect the soil and keep the nutrients bound in.

You can also just plant a cover crop and call it a year. Be sure to check out our article on winter gardening for some more things to do in the cold months.

What Are The Common Food Emulsifiers?

In the food industry, the process of making new products involves combining all the necessary ingredients more than anything else. Due to the need for concoction, other operations such as grinding, particle size reduction, emulsification, etc would take place.

Successful food manufacturing requires equipment like Ginhong mixers that will help mill, grind, reduce particle size, homogenize, disperse, and emulsify. Once done, manufacturers need to make sure that fused molecules of ingredients will no longer depart from one another. In order to do this, emulsifying agents must be added to the overall compound to stabilize it.

Source: The Spruce

What is an emulsifier?

First, let’s define what an emulsifier is. As soon as stirring halts, the emulsion starts to separate again. To maintain the even mixture, an emulsifier is essential. An emulsifier acts as a bond that holds the particles of the ingredients altogether. It makes the finished product soft and smooth in texture, improves the quality of the mixture, and keeps it firm and stabilized.

Water spattering in food preparation or cooking is also reduced by an emulsifier. It leads to better dispersion, solubilization, crystal modification, foaming, creaming ability, etc. Emulsions have many functions in food processing, even in other industries as well.

The Common Food Emulsifiers

Now that we have understood the definition and functions of an emulsifier in processed foods, it’s time to jump into the enumerated and expounded common food emulsifiers. Let’s begin!

  1. Lecithin

Lecithin is widely used in the commercial baking industry. This emulsifier, composed of fatty compounds, is present in eggs. Emulsifying properties are stored in the phospholipids existing in lecithin. It actually prevents the split of water and oil particles.

Good HDL cholesterol content is increased when lecithin is added to the food mixture, as stated by scientists. The droplets of oil in water are kept safe by this emulsifier, increasing the stability and shelf life of the food.

Lecithin is overflowing with health benefits too. It prevents high cholesterol and cirrhosis caused by drinking alcohol. Also, it improves nerve, brain and muscle functions.

  1. Fatty Acid Derivatives

There are different emulsifiers that can be derived from fatty acids. To name a few, polyglycerol esters (PGE), polysorbates, stearoyl lactylates, propylene glycol esters (PGMS), and sucrose esters are commonly known. In desserts like cakes and their icings, PGE is famously used. For toppings that are whippable, PGMS is mainly applied. Other products like gums, coffee, sauces, etc need sucrose esters in holding their particles.

  1. Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR)

Baking is an appealing activity, especially for moms. We all can’t deny that cookies are tasty that’s why our sweet tooths would always go for it anytime. In manufacturing chocolates for applications such as baking, polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR) works in enhancing the thickness and volume of the product. Chocolate coatings flow satisfactorily when PGPR is added unto its mixture. It also complements lecithin when combined.

Factories find PGPR as a helpful agent in maintaining the good quality of the chocolate or other products that require certain smoothness and viscosity. With that, baking will be much fun for everybody who loves doing it.

  1. Ammonium Phosphatide (AMP)

Ammonium phosphatide (AMP) is sunflower-based. The use of AMP has been most triumphant in chocolate and confectionery manufacturing. It is chiefly efficacious in achieving uniformity and steadiness of the mixture, leading to high-quality food products. It does pretty well in keeping the right attributes of the food. The size, texture, smell, texture, thickness, etc.

AMP can be used as a good alternative of lecithin but it can also be applied with it plus the PGPR.

  1. Mono and Diglycerides

Monoglycerides stay firm in the so-called ‘apha crystalline formation’. As it is very versatile, it works well in foams that are whippable while managing the agglomeration of fats. When water molecules need to be dispersed in a fat phase, monoglycerides serve as an instrument that fairly distributes water into the oil.

For products like chocolates, it gives the sensation that feels like the food product is melting inside your mouth – adding the tastiness of the food. It prompts the smoothness and consistency of the processed bulk. The crystalline structure of the food becomes balanced through its help.

These are the most used food emulsifiers from the early times until today. They are produced when palatable oils are blended with glycerin. Aside from chocolates, baked and dairy products are the ones to consume them most as well.

Conclusion

Aside from holding the ingredients altogether, emulsifiers make the food you eat much more appealing in taste and in appearance. Preservation is also important in prolonging the shelf lives of different products. An emulsifier helps in maintaining the freshness as well as good quality of goods for varying times of consumption. Low fat spreads are prone to mold growth. Hence, an emulsifier as an accessible solution.

There is an appropriate emulsifier for every application. Make sure you’re using the right one!

Renewable Energy from Food Residuals

Food residuals are an untapped renewable energy source that mostly ends up rotting in landfills, thereby releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Food residuals are difficult to treat or recycle since it contains high levels of sodium salt and moisture, and is mixed with other waste during collection. Major generators of food wastes include hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, residential blocks, cafeterias, airline caterers, food processing industries, etc.

In United States, food scraps is the third largest waste stream after paper and yard waste. Around 12.7 percent of the total municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in the year 2008 was food scraps that amounted to about 32 million tons. According to EPA, about 31 million tons of food waste was thrown away into landfills or incinerators in 2008. As far as United Kingdom is concerned, households throw away 8.3 million tons of food each year. These statistics are an indication of tremendous amount of food waste generated all over the world.

The proportion of food residuals in municipal waste stream is gradually increasing and hence a proper food waste management strategy needs to be devised to ensure its eco-friendly and sustainable disposal. Currently, only about 3 percent of food waste is recycled throughout U.S., mainly through composting. Composting provides an alternative to landfill disposal of food waste, however it requires large areas of land, produces volatile organic compounds and consumes energy. Consequently, there is an urgent need to explore better recycling alternatives.

Anaerobic digestion has been successfully used in several European and Asian countries to stabilize food wastes, and to provide beneficial end-products. Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Germany and England have led the way in developing new advanced biogas technologies and setting up new projects for conversion of food waste into energy.

Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste

Anaerobic digestion is the most important method for the treatment of organic waste, such as food residuals, because of its techno-economic viability and environmental sustainability. The use of anaerobic digestion technology generates biogas and preserves the nutrients which are recycled back to the agricultural land in the form of slurry or solid fertilizer.

The relevance of biogas technology lies in the fact that it makes the best possible use of various organic wastes as a renewable source of clean energy. A biogas plant is a decentralized energy system, which can lead to self-sufficiency in heat and power needs, and at the same time reduces environmental pollution. Thus, anaerobic digestion of food waste can lead to climate change mitigation, economic benefits and landfill diversion opportunities.

Of the different types of organic wastes available, food waste holds the highest potential in terms of economic exploitation as it contains high amount of carbon and can be efficiently converted into biogas and organic fertilizer. Food waste can either be used as a single substrate in a biogas plant, or can be co-digested with organic wastes like cow manure, poultry litter, sewage, crop residues, slaughterhouse wastes, etc.

A Typical Energy Conversion Plant

The feedstock for the food waste-to-energy plant includes leftover food, vegetable refuse, stale cooked and uncooked food, meat, teabags, napkins, extracted tea powder, milk products, etc. Raw waste is shredded to reduce to its particle size to less than 12 mm. The primary aim of shredding is to produce a uniform feed and reduce plant “down-time” due to pipe blockages by large food particles. It also improves mechanical action and digestibility and enables easy removal of any plastic bags or cling-film from waste.

Fresh waste and re-circulated digestate (or digested food waste) are mixed in a mixing tank. The digestate is added to adjust the solids content of the incoming waste stream from 20 to 25 percent (in the incoming waste) to the desired solids content of the waste stream entering the digestion system (10 to 12 percent total solids). The homogenized waste stream is pumped into the feeding tank, from which the anaerobic digestion system is continuously fed. Feeding tank also acts as a pre-digester and subjected to heat at 55º to 60º C to eliminate pathogens and to facilitate the growth of thermophilic microbes for faster degradation of waste.

From the predigestor tank, the slurry enters the main digester where it undergoes anaerobic degradation by a consortium of Archaebacteria belonging to Methanococcus group. The anaerobic digester is a CSTR reactor having average retention time of 15 to 20 days. The digester is operated in the mesophilic temperature range (33º to 38°C), with heating carried out within the digester. Food waste is highly biodegradable and has much higher volatile solids destruction rate (86 to 90 percent) than biosolids or livestock manure. As per conservative estimates, each ton of food waste produces 150 to 200 m3 of biogas, depending on reactor design, process conditions, waste composition, etc.

Biogas contains significant amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas that needs to be stripped off due to its corrosive nature. The removal of H2S takes place in a biological desulphurization unit in which a limited quantity of air is added to biogas in the presence of specialized aerobic bacteria that oxidizes H2S into elemental sulfur. The biogas produced as a result of anaerobic digestion of waste is sent to a gas holder for temporary storage. Biogas is eventually used in a combined heat and power (CHP) unit for its conversion into thermal and electrical energy in a co­generation power station of suitable capacity. The exhaust gases from the CHP unit are used for meeting process heat requirements.

The digested substrate leaving the reactor is rich in nutrients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus which are beneficial for plants as well as soil. The digested slurry is dewatered in a series of screw presses to remove the moisture from slurry. Solar drying and additives are used to enhance the market value and handling characteristics of the fertilizer.

Diverting Food from Landfills

Food residuals are one of the single largest constituents of municipal solid waste stream. Diversion of food waste from landfills can provide significant contribution towards climate change mitigation, apart from generating revenues and creating employment opportunities. Rising energy prices and increasing environmental pollution makes it more important to harness renewable energy from food scraps.

Anaerobic digestion technology is widely available worldwide and successful projects are already in place in several European as well as Asian countries that makes it imperative on waste generators and environmental agencies to root for a sustainable food waste management system.

15 Simple Ways Your Family Can Save the Planet

Life, the miracle of the universe, appeared about 4 billion years ago, and we, humans – only 200,000 years ago. But we have already succeeded in destroying the balance that is so important for the life on Earth. What do we actually know about life on Earth? The tenth part? Or maybe the hundredth? Earth is a real miracle. Life remains a mystery.

Trees grow towards the sun, which feeds their foliage. Animals are adapted to their pastures, and their pastures are adapted to them. As a result, everyone wins. Animals satisfy hunger, and plants flourish again. In this great life journey on Earth, each species has a particular function and takes a certain place. There are no useless creatures. They are all balanced.

And Homo sapiens – a man of sense – enters the arena of history. He received a fabulous inheritance that the Earth has carefully preserved for 4 billion years. He is only 200,000 years old, but he has already changed the face of the world. Despite his vulnerability, he captured all the habitats and conquered the territory like no other species before him. Today, life – our life – is only a link in the chain of countless lives following one another on Earth for 4 billion years.

For a long time, the relationship between people and the planet were fairly balanced and resembled a natural and equal union. Now, we rarely think about global issues, being lost in everyday concerns. Meanwhile, we are on the verge of a disaster. Thanks to the achievements of science and technology, people learned to satisfy their needs, but some inventions brought us much more harm than good. We are killing our planet gradually but purposefully.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

These 15 simple tips do not require you either time or extra effort. Only by changing your habits quite a bit, you and your loved one can make the world cleaner and safer.

  1. Make the most of natural ambient light. Turn off the light in the room or the computer monitor when you do not need it. And do not forget about the chargers in the appliance receptacle!
  2. Teach yourself to turn off the water at a time when you do not need it – for example, while brushing your teeth or rubbing the pan with a detergent. On average, according to statistics, 5-10 liters of water (depending on pressure) flows out of the tap per minute. Also, reduce the time spent in the shower for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED: they save energy and last longer.
  4. Change to a bike. It is cool, fast, and comfortable. Having tried only once, you no longer want to get on the “hot bus” or spend time stuck in traffic jams. In addition, a bicycle is an excellent vehicle as it does not pollute the air with dangerous gases.
  5. Use phosphate-free detergents. On the Internet, there are many resources offering ecological household chemicals.
  6. Buy less plastic bags, go to the store with your eco-bag.
  7. Replace plastic with paper and glass. If you cannot do without disposable tableware – for example, when going on a picnic – use paper plates and cups rather than plastic ones.
  8. Choose cosmetics and chemicals especially carefully. You should give preference to products that have not been tested on animals and do not adversely affect the environment at different stages of production.
  9. Though it is as simple as ABC but very effective – try to bring plastic, glass, and paper for recycling.
  10. Bring batteries to special shops and institutions because this is a dangerous and very toxic type of waste.
  11. Refuse semi-finished products. Experts say that today, the manufacture of these products is fully controlled by monopoly companies that abuse antibiotics, overload the ecosystem, and apply the principles of intensive management for their own profit. Of course, in such conditions, quality suffers. Homemade food is much better. Do not know how to cook? A dating site may be helpful.
  12. Buy local food – the one that is made in your area. This food undergoes less chemical treatment which is sometimes used for long-term transportation.
  13. Use water filters. In this case, you do not need to spend money on bottled drinking water. Thus, you will not only save your family budget but also reduce the environmental impact caused by the production and transportation of plastic bottles.
  14. Plant flowers on window sills and trees in the courtyards. Do not let anyone cut down green spaces near your house.
  15. Support environmental organizations and encourage your family to do it.

“Orbiting Earth, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!”

– Yuri Gagarin

Alternatives for Plastic Wrapping and Packaging

There’s no denying that plastic wrap has been a convenient product in most households for many years. However, as most waste disposal companies will tell you, its convenience is only for you – not the environment. It stops your sandwiches from going stale, but it also takes centuries to break down. Your one sandwich wrapper could be responsible for killing a myriad of animals while it sits there waiting to lose its structural integrity. Fortunately, there is a better way. Read on to discover many wrapping and packaging materials that could end up being better for the environment.

Glass Containers

One of the many reasons why people want to make the switch from plastic is because it can take centuries to break down. However, so does glass, so why use it? Unlike plastic which tends to lean toward being a single-use product, glass is something you can have forever. It’s one of the longest-lasting materials and will prove to offer no end of convenience.

In most cases, you can use glass containers in your fridge, freezer, microwave, and even oven. You couldn’t do that with most plastic products. Glass containers are also an excellent alternative for plastic in almost every way. You can put your unwrapped sandwiches in them and seal the lid shut. You can also put leftover dinner into them for reheating later.

Glass containers are even something you can take to the grocery store. Instead of a supermarket filling a plastic container with their deli items or bulk groceries, you can fill your glass jars. One product can end up having many uses, saving thousands of plastic wrap rolls and containers from requiring waste disposal.

Mason Jars

Mason jars have been around since the 1850s, but it’s only in recent years there has been a resurgence in their use. As consumers come to realize that plastic is not environmentally-friendly, they are starting to use sealable mason jars that serve a whole variety of purposes. Cafes are using them for beverages, and you can even use them for serving at home. What’s more, there’s nothing wrong with using them for produce, soup, grains, and more. Move aside plastic; there’s a new player in town.

Parchment Paper

If you are trying to minimize how much rubbish you send away for waste disposal, then consider swapping your cling film for parchment paper. Wax or parchment paper is an excellent alternative, while also breaking down far quicker than plastic wrap. It will still keep your sandwiches fresh, but with a much less detrimental impact on the environment.

Bees Wrap

Bees wrap is a relatively new product to hit the market, but it’s already making waves. It consists of cotton muslin cloth dipped in beeswax, tree resin, and jojoba oil. When you heat them with your hands, you’re able to seal food within. Both the jojoba oil and beeswax are also antibacterial which can offer exceptional benefits with preservation.

When you have eaten your sandwich, you don’t need to worry about impacting waste disposal. You can clean the wraps and reuse them.

Cardboard

Many countries around the world have banned single-use plastic bags, with New Zealand the latest nation to join the movement. It will only be a matter of time before waste disposal businesses notice the dramatic impact in plastic waste. That’s a good thing – but how will people package their goods, or carry their groceries? Cardboard is about to become far more popular than it is now.

Instead of packaging your items in plastic, you can store them neatly in cardboard boxes. They break down into the environment, are effortless to stack, and you can use them more than once.

Go Nude

For the sake of waste disposal, why not consider going nude? We don’t mean take all your clothes off, but why not avoid packaging altogether? Grocery stores are not making this process easy with the number of plastic-wrapped items they have, but you can be more conscientious about the purchasing decisions you make.

Put your vegetables and fruit in cloth bags and your loose bulk bin items into glass jars. Instead of buying pasta, rice, and other ingredients in plastic packets, buy them from bulk stores that encourage you to bring containers to put them in. If you can’t seem to avoid plastic, then draw up a meal plan that differs from what you usually do. You can then make an effort to eat food that will not arrive in packaging.

Conclusion

People used to cope without plastic for packaging and wrapping, and they can do so again. Think of the effects of waste disposal and how you can stop your contribution to the growing problem. Use glass jars and containers, buy ingredients in bulk, and stop using plastic wrap for your sandwiches. These might seem like small changes, but when 7.7 billion people follow suit, we can make a significant difference.