An innovative program in Melbourne, Australia is tackling greenhouse gas emissions associated with food waste while cleaning up popular restaurant areas. The 90 businesses in the well-known Degraves street area are switching from compost-only to a food recycling program that dehydrates food waste and turns it into fertilizer. The fertilizer is then used in local parks as well as farm in the surrounding area.
Invented in Korea, this process of dehydrating food waste results in less methane and CO2 emissions than standard composting. The smell that the dehydrating produces is much less imposing than composting food, which will be appreciated by the restaurants who currently compost outside of their buildings.
The city hopes to install similar dehydration machines in apartment buildings, which may encourage residents to recycle more of their food waste scraps.
Read more on Melbourne’s changing composting scene here.
The small city of Galdakao (just outside of Bilbao, Spain) has come up with a creative solution for tackling food waste, using a communal fridge where anyone can leave or take food. The goal is not to provide charity, although providing food to the food insecure is one benefit. The primary goal is to deal with excess food. Now restaurants and citizens can leave extra food in the fridge, following some basic rules in order to maintain food safety, and anyone at all is welcome to take food from the fridge. The fridge sits on the pavement with a small fence around it to ensure it’s not mistaken for a rejected appliance.Volunteers are in place to remove any food that sits in the fridge too long, though so far nothing has had to be tossed because the food has such high turnover. It took some time to get the project up and running – especially getting city approval and a public space to use – but it seems to be proving a success, despite some initial hesitancy in the community. Already, two to three hundred kilos of food have been saved from being trash. The project was inspired by a similar initiative in Berlin and now there’s already talk of a second fridge in Galdakao and a similar project in the city of Murcia. Now I just wish there was one in Guelph…
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As of January 1st 2015, Seattle and Metro Vancouver have both banned the disposal of food waste in order to increase diversion rates and save landfill space.
Enforcement is one part of the story:
“Recology CleanScapes driver Rodney Watkins issues a red tag — the scarlet letter of food waste in Seattle.” -Amy Radil/KUOW
Education and innovation are equally important strategies, and Metro Vancouver provides many options for different types of waste generators:
“How you can support the ban on food in the garbage” -Metro Vancouver
“Recycle food scraps at your building or business on-site with organics management systems” – Metro Vancouver
As of 2015, Seattle will begin fining residents and businesses whose garbage stream contains more than 10% food waste: