A guide on recycling food at home
In the UK a lot of the households equip themselves with some form of food waste collection, which is good. When you recycle your food waste, you help improve the environment, even if very little goes into the caddy itself.
Here are some guides on recycling food at home
The important reasons to recycle food waste
The importance of recycling food waste is even greater if the local authority in your area provides means of food waste collection. After all, for any food waste that is not recycled, the reality is that it will most likely end up in a landfill. Once it is there, it will quickly begin to rot, releasing methane gas in the meantime. Methane is very harmful to the environment because it was much more potent (25 times more) than carbon dioxide.
That is why local councils understand the importance of food waste recycling. Some collect it and send it for incineration, to produce energy in the process. Alternatively, it can be converted into fertilisers for agricultural purposes.
What goes into a food waste caddy?
For starters, plate scrapings are a viable addition to a food waste caddy designated for recycling. Uneaten food is too going to be added there. Bread, pastries, cooked/raw meat and bones are eligible too. When you peel vegetables and fruits, you can recycle the peelings. If any of the food in your home has gotten mouldy or is out-of-date, don’t hesitate to recycle it. Coffee grounds and tea bags can also be recycled.
It is also important to remember that there are things that cannot go into your food waste recycling caddy. Anything that is not food should not be put there. Liquids that you normally cook with, like oil are not recyclable. Same with milk. Food packaging is also not within the category of recyclable food-related items. Your local authority should have listed the items that can be recycled on their website, so if you are unsure, you can just check there.
How is food waste recycled?
There are two main ways in which food waste is recycled:
- In-vessel composting – when food is collected, alongside garden waste, it is then put through a shredder and stored in a container. With temperatures kept around 70 degrees Celsius, the food waste is turned into compost and any harmful microbes are killed. The food stays in a container for about 2-4 weeks and then it is moved to stay for a further 1-3 months before it is ready to be used as a soil conditioner.
- Anaerobic digestion – this method relies on the microscopic methanogen organisms to break down animal manures, food waste and crops. This is done in an enclosed tank, with the absence of oxygen. In the process of breaking down, food waste gives off biogas. This can then be collected and used to generate heat, electricity and transport fuel.
What if your local council doesn’t collect food?
If that is the case and you wish to recycle, then composting is your best bet. You can use eggshells, vegetable peelings and tea bags for the purpose. You need a bin in a sunny spot in your garden. Fill it up with the aforementioned ingredients and wait for some time. It takes a few months before the compost is ready for use. You can speed up the process if you add browns and greens on top of the compost pile. You will know it is ready when it turns dark and crumbly. You can then use the material to enrich the borders of your garden and the vegetable patches around.