What You Need to Know About Food Waste Management

Food waste is an untapped energy source that mostly ends up rotting in landfills, thereby releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Food waste is 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 waste is the third largest waste stream after paper and yard waste. Around 13 percent of the total municipal solid waste generated in the country is contributed by food scraps. According to USEPA, more than 35 million tons of food waste are thrown away into landfills or incinerators each year, which is around 40 percent of all food consumed in the country.

As far as United Kingdom is concerned, households throw away around 4.5 million tons of food each year. Food wastage in Canada causes 56.6 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions. These statistics are an indication of tremendous amount of food waste generated all over the world.

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Food Waste Management Strategy

The proportion of food waste 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. The two most common methods for food waste recycling are:

  • Composting: A treatment that breaks down biodegradable waste by naturally occurring micro-organisms with oxygen, in an enclosed vessel or tunnel;
  • Anaerobic digestion (AD): A treatment that breaks down biodegradable waste in the absence of oxygen, producing a renewable energy (biogas) that can be used to generate electricity and heat.

Currently, only about 3 percent of food waste is recycled throughout USA, 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.

biogas-enrichment

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, abattoir wastes, etc.

Food waste is one of the single largest constituent 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 wastes.

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

Food Waste Management in UK

Food waste in the United Kingdom is a matter of serious environmental, economic and social concern that has been attracting widespread attention in recent years. According to ‘Feeding the 5K’ organisation, 13,000 slices of crusts are thrown away every day by a single sandwich factory. More recently, Tesco, one of the largest UK food retailers, has published its sustainability report admitting that the company generated 28,500 tonnes of food waste in the first six months of 2013. TESCO’s report also state that 47% of the bakery produced is wasted. In terms of GHG emissions, DEFRA estimated that food waste is associated with 20 Mt of CO2 equivalent/year, which is equivalent to 3% of the total annual GHG emissions.

Food-Waste-UK

Globally, 1.2 to 2 billion tonnes (30%-50%) of food produced is thrown away before it reaches a human stomach. Food waste, if conceived as a state, is responsible for 3.3 Bt-CO2 equivalent/year, which would make it the third biggest carbon emitter after China and USA.

What makes food waste an even more significant issue is the substantially high demand for food which is estimated to grow 70% by 2050 due to the dramatic increase of population which is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2075. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address food waste as a globally challenging issue which should be considered and tackled by sustainable initiatives.

A War on Food Waste

The overarching consensus to tackle the food waste issue has led to the implementation of various policies. For instance, the European Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) set targets to reduce organic waste disposed to landfill in 2020 to 35% of that disposed in 1995 (EC 1999).

More recently, the European Parliament discussed a proposal to “apply radical measures” to halve food waste by 2025 and to designate the 2014 year as “the European Year Against Food Waste”. In the light of IMechE’s report (2013), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with FAO has launched the Save Food Initiative in an attempt to reduce food waste generated in the global scale.

In the UK, WRAP declared a war on food waste by expanding its organic waste programme in 2008 which was primarily designed to “establish the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable ways of diverting household food waste from landfill that leads to the production of a saleable product”. DEFRA has also identified food waste as a “priority waste stream” in order to achieve better waste management performance.

In addition to governmental policies, various voluntary schemes have been introduced by local authorities such as Nottingham Declaration which aims to cut local CO2 emissions 60% by 2050.

Sustainable Food Waste Management

Engineering has introduced numerous technologies to deal with food waste. Many studies have been carried out to examine the environmental and socio-economic impacts of food waste management options. This article covers the two most preferable options; anaerobic digestion and composting.

In-vessel composting (IVC) is a well-established technology which is widely used to treat food waste aerobically and convert it into a valuable fertilizer. IVC is considered a sustainable option because it helps by reducing the amount of food waste landfilled. Hence, complying with the EU regulations, and producing a saleable product avoiding the use of natural resources.

IVC is considered an environmentally favourable technology compared with other conventional options (i.e. landfill and incineration). It contributes less than 0.06% to the national greenhouse gas inventories. However, considering its high energy-intensive collection activities, the overall environmental performance is “relatively poor”.

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a leading technology which has had a rapidly growing market over the last few years. AD is a biologically natural process in which micro-organisms anaerobically break down food waste and producing biogas which can be used for both Combined Heat & Power (CHP) and digestate that can be used as soil fertilizers or conditioners. AD has been considered as the “best option” for food waste treatment. Therefore, governmental and financial support has been given to expand AD in the UK.

AD is not only a food waste treatment technology, but also a renewable source of energy. For instance, It is expected that AD would help the UK to meet the target of supplying 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Furthermore, AD technology has the potential to boost the UK economy by providing 35,000 new jobs if the technology is adopted nationally to process food waste. This economic growth will significantly improve the quality of life among potential beneficiaries and thus all sustainability elements are considered.

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.

food_waste

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.

Are Reusable Freezer Bags An Eco-Friendly Answer?

Everyone’s heard about the damage single-use plastic products are causing. But just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown. Single-use plastic doesn’t biodegrade, and even when it does start to break down, it can still be extremely harmful.

Microplastics come from partially degraded plastic products, and it can be extremely harmful to both humans and animals. You see, microplastic can leach into the soil, which then pollutes any food that grows in the area. Worst of all, after heavy rain, the microplastic is picked up and washed into natural water sources.

And this is where the problem starts for animals; they mistake the plastic for food, which kills them slowly after digestion. The old phrase “You are what you eat” always comes to mind.

You see, because microplastics infect the food we eat, you are too. This is causing a lot more harm to the human body then ‘they’ would have you believe; here are a few of the side effects caused by plastic:

  • Genotoxicity
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • The list goes on

Luckily, people are starting to realize the harm single-use products are having on the planet. Even shops have started charging for plastic bags or stopped providing them full stop.

With one single-use enemy down, it’s time to begin the search for others. And is there any better place to begin than another plastic product, the freezer bag?

green-freezer-bags

Are Reusable Food Storage Bags Safe To Freeze?

Yes, reusable freezer bags are perfectly safe to use in the freezer. The reason for this is freezer bags are made with either Silicone or PEVA. These materials can withstand extremely cold temperatures, with some going as low as -51°f. In other words, these materials cannot freeze. Both materials are also food safe, which is necessary if you want to decrease your chemical intake.

Silicone freezer bags tend to be the favorite for most consumers for a few reasons:

  1. More Durable – Silicone is far more durable than PEVA, which means the bags will last longer without splitting.
  2. Withstands Heat – Many PEVA products cannot withstand high temperatures, which means you can’t deforest stuff in the microwave.
  3. Higher Food-Grade – A great benefit of using silicone bags is they can have a higher food grade, which means fewer chemicals are used.

In the end, whichever material you choose, you can rest assured knowing it’s safe to be storing your food in.

Recommended Brands

There’s plenty of freezer bags on the market for you to have a dabble with. The problem is, some of them don’t perform as well as others.

This is why this segment is devoted to bringing you the very best reusable freezer bags. So, without any more delay, let’s take a glance at the best freezer bags the market has to offer:

WOHOME Silicone Bags

As mentioned earlier, the freezer bags are made with silicone and come in a pack of six airtight bags. The bags come in four different colors, which helps you identify what you need from a packed freezer.

Because the bags are made with silicone, the bags can withstand extreme heat as well as the freezer. This gives you a few more options when it comes to cooking with the bags.

To seal the bags, they use a zipper system which ensures the freshness is locked into the bag every time. Another nice touch is having measurement markings on the outside; it makes it a lot easier to position your food.

Inspriratek PEVA Bags

They come in a set of six bags, and as a bonus, they also include two stainless steel straws to help you further reduce the amount of plastic you use.

eco-friendly-freezer-bags

Because the bags are made with 100% PEVA, you don’t have to worry about any dangerous compounds such as BPA or Chloride. This makes it a healthy and more environmentally friendly option to PVC bags.

Each freezer bag uses a double-slide zipper which ensures they stay completely leak-proof and lightweight. With the zipper closed, you can store up to one litre of food without any escaping or the bag breaking.

Ecomore PEVA Bags

With these freezer bags, you get seven in the pack, with each one holding one gallon of food, which is more than enough. They can be used to store meats, vegetables, and much more in the freezer or fridge.

The tight seal of which is provided by the zippers ensures your food doesn’t get any freezer burns and stays fresh at all times. They claim that each bag can replace other 350+ disposable plastic bags.

The PEVA is completely food-grade, so you don’t need to worry about any substances leaching into your food. One thing to mention is, these freezer bags do not perform well under high heat so you should avoid using them in the microwave.

Rounding Up

Single-use plastic products are extremely bad for the environment, which is why reusable freezer bags can be so beneficial.

You have to remember, plastic products don’t break down in the same way as natural materials, which is causing a nightmare for the trash system.

And it’s not just because they don’t biodegrade; it’s also because of the quantity that gets used. This is why using reusable items like these freezer bags can be very beneficial.

It can significantly reduce the amount of plastic you use in your household. And this can only be a benefit. Remember, single-use plastic is killing animals at an alarming rate and poisoning human food. Using reusable freezer bags can help to further eliminate this problem.

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.

Advantages of Used Cooking Oil Recycling

Used cooking oil can be easily recycled. All that is required the availability of a recycling plant and the used cooking oil to recycle. It is not a difficult process and anyone who would want to venture into the industry can quickly learn how to do it. They can then source for the used cooking oil and they are in the business of recycling.

Here are some advantages of used cooking oil recycling.

For your business

If you own a business, used cooking oil recycling is here to help you. Used cooking oil can be recycled to become fuel. If you are in the transportation business, you now have cheaper fuel for your trucks.

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Further, in the agriculture industry, used oil recycling can be used to develop high quality organic fertilizer. This is fertilizer that you can trust to not only help produce healthy and nutritious crops but to also help balance and improve your soil in the long run. Organic fertilizer is much cheaper, and you can therefore make significant savings as you farm.

For your home

At home, used cooking oil recycling has numerous benefits. You will never again have your kitchen sink and drainage clogged by used cooking oil. Many people drain their used cooking oil down the sink which leads to clogging.

When you accept to be part of the people who want to have used cooking oil recycled, your recycling team will give you a container in which to pour your used cooking oil. Then you will agree on a day and time that they will come to collect it and leave you with another empty container.

For the environment

Another advantage of recycling used cooking oil is felt in the environment.

In many cities and municipalities, you will find numerous drainage systems full and overflowing.

A major cause for this pollution is used cooking oil. When it is drained in the sink at home and in restaurants, it gets into the sewage system, where it causes blockages that lead to overflow of sewage onto the city roads.

In addition to sinks, many landfills have lots of poorly disposed of used cooking oil. Recycling helps develop better methods of disposal, ensuring that none of the oil finds its way to landfills.

Recycled used cooking oil is also used as an alternative to biodiesel. It is much cheaper and easier to produce and does not affect the price and supply of food in a country or region.

For the economy

Recycling used cooking oil is also a boon to the economy.

With an improvement to the environment, it is likely that the country gets cleaner. This means that it can attract people from other countries to live, work and invest in your clean country.

biofuel-UCO

Used cooking oil recycling also creates jobs for hundreds of people. It creates new jobs for the teams of people collecting the used oil from homes and restaurants. It creates high level jobs for the scientists who understand the chemistry of turning used cooking oil into soap or fertilizer.

With the creation of new jobs, the economy will have more people engaged and more money circulating in it. As a result, there will be significant economic growth in the country driven by used oil recycling.

For your pets

Used oil recycling also has significant advantages to your pets and animals. Used cooking oil can be recycled and turned into healthy, nutritious, organic animal and pet feeds.

Recycled used cooking oil creates high quality fish feeds and dog food. It also creates high quality pig and cattle feed.

Conclusion

Recycling used cooking oil is full of advantages. It can be converted into many things that are useful at home and in industry. It helps bring about a cleaner environment with fewer overflowing drainage systems clogged by used cooking oil that was drained down the sink. It also contributes significantly in developing organic farming affordably.

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. Supplementing your nutrition is very easy and good for your health with the Vitamin Patch.

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 consuming organic foods 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.

Role of Anaerobic Digestion in Food Waste Management

Food waste is one of the single largest constituent of municipal solid waste stream. In a typical landfill, food waste is one of the largest incoming waste streams and responsible for the generation of high amounts of methane. Diversion of food waste from landfills can provide significant contribution towards climate change mitigation, apart from generating revenues and creating employment 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 utilized as a single substrate in a biogas plant, or can be co-digested with organic wastes like cow manure, poultry litter, sewage, crop residues, abattoir wastes etc or can be disposed in dedicated food waste disposers (FWDs). Rising energy prices and increasing environmental concerns makes it more important to harness clean energy from food wastes.

Anaerobic Digestion of Food Wastes

Anaerobic Digestion of Food Wastes

Anaerobic digestion is the most important method for the treatment of food waste 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 utilization of food 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, the benefits of anaerobic digestion of food waste includes climate change mitigation, economic benefits and landfill diversion opportunities.

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.

food waste treatment

Codigestion at Wastewater Treatment Facilities

Anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge is wastewater treatment facilities is a common practice worldwide. Food waste can be codigested with sewage sludge if there is excess capacity in the anaerobic digesters. An excess capacity at a wastewater treatment facility can occur when urban development is overestimated or when large industries leave the area.

anaerobic_digestion_plant

By incorporating food waste, wastewater treatment facilities can have significant cost savings due to tipping fee for accepting the food waste and increasing energy production. Wastewater treatment plants are usually located in urban areas which make it cost-effective to transport food waste to the facility. This trend is catching up fast and such plants are already in operation in several Western countries.

The main wastewater treatment plant in East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), Oakland (California) was the first sewage treatment facility in the USA to convert post-consumer food scraps to energy via anaerobic digestion. EBMUD’s wastewater treatment plant has an excess capacity because canneries that previously resided in the Bay Area relocated resulting in the facility receiving less wastewater than estimated when it was constructed. Waste haulers collect post-consumer food waste from local restaurants and markets and take it to EBMUD where the captured methane is used as a renewable source of energy to power the treatment plant. After the digestion process, the leftover material is be composted and used as a natural fertilizer.

The first food waste anaerobic digestion plant in Britain to be built at a sewage treatment plant is the city of Bristol. The plant, located at a Wessex Water sewage works in Avonmouth, process 40,000 tonnes of food waste a year from homes, supermarkets and business across the southwest and generate enough energy to power around 3,000 homes.

Aside from the coprocessing of food waste in wastewater treatment facilities, they can also incorporate greener and more cost-effective agents aiding the wastewater treatment process. For centuries, wastewater companies have utilized caustic soda or sodium hydroxide, a strong alkaline substance, to ionize and increase the pH level of water. This substance is also useful for eliminating heavy metals in water.

Despite the effectiveness of sodium hydroxide in wastewater treatment, corrosion of pipelines is a huge issue in many facilities, as well as the release of copper and lead when water flows into residential plumbing fixtures. However, when the pH of water is increased further, copper and lead contamination can be temporarily resolved, but at the expense of insoluble calcium carbonate build-up along pipe walls.

To present a better solution to this dilemma, wastewater plants can use a sodium hydroxide substitute like magnesium hydroxide which can serve as a greener, safer, and more cost-effective alternative. Compared to caustic soda, magnesium hydroxide offers the following advantages:

  • 40% reduction in chemical usage
  • Safer handling for wastewater facility operators
  • Less hazardous and more nutritive to microorganisms being maintained
  • Reduced sludge volume, thus lowering sludge hauling fees
  • Doesn’t irritate and burn the skin when in contact

A magnesium hydroxide alternative can perform the same advantages as the traditional caustic soda, but with less damages to people and the environment. If you’re looking into using new substitutes like sodium hydroxide in your facility, make sure to consult certified experts like a plant operator, chemical engineer, mechanical engineer, sanitary engineer, and the like.

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.

2. 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

3. 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).

4. 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.

5. 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.