Food waste or food loss is the food that is not eaten. There are countless reasons for food loss or waste and they happen all the way in the food system, during production, processing, distribution, retail, and consumption. Global food waste and loss account for one-third and one-half of all food that is produced. Food loss in low-income countries happens during production, on the other hand in developed countries around 100 kilograms of food per person per year is wasted at the consumption stage. Food loss and waste are different. Food loss is the decrease in quantity or quality of food while food waste (a part of food loss) is any removal of food from the food supply chain which was fit for human consumption but has now spoiled or expired due to economic behavior, poor stock management or neglect.
Food waste includes kitchen waste, food waste in restaurants and food waste from hotels, etc. Vegetable and fruit waste of different types ( fruits, vegetables, fruit remain and peelings, eggshells and coffee sediments, tainted food, non-liquid cooked food waste, bones, stale bread, etc biscuits are examples of biodegradable kitchen waste. Over-ordering, spoilage, over-production, poor- portion control are examples of food waste in restaurants and hotels.
The following are food waste solutions for hotels and restaurants-
1.Leftover food should be donated-
One of the ways to save food waste is to give away and redistribute leftover food at the end of the day to charities.
2. Control portion size-
A generous portion though tempting leads to leftover food on the plate which lands in the bin. Controlling the size of plates the dishes are served on leads to avoiding unnecessarily large portions. In case there are leftovers, an environmentally friendly packaging for the customers to take their food in should be provided.
3. Follow food safety guidelines-
Food spoilage should be avoided by following food safety guidelines. Food should be stored at the correct temperature and fridges and freezers should be maintained and monitored frequently.
4. Meal planning should be careful-
Supply and demand be understood properly and in-demand food items should be stocked. Plan the menu and keep in mind the popularity of dishes as this will help in the reduction of the amount of stock that is thrown away.
Food waste recycling helps in trimming down the greenhouse emissions. Some ways to recycle the kitchen and household waste are-
1.Composting the kitchen and garden scrap-
Composting is one of the most undemanding and eco- friendly ways to recycle your food waste. Worm composting is also a good option as worms feed on the organic materials and produce high- quality nitrogen- rich compost called castings compost.
2. Put your waste to work-
Offer your waste to a local farmer. Contribute your wood waste to a neighbor’s compost pile. Recyclers’ food waste bins can be installed in the house. Scraps can be brought to work and you can give them to avid gardeners.
3. Leftovers can be used creatively-
Banana peels can be used to polish the leaves of plants at home. Soup can be made out of broccoli. Aging celery, carrots, and onions can be used to make vegetable stock, leftover fruits can be puréed and drunk as a fruit smoothie, breadcrumbs can be made from stale bread, etc.
There are other ways in which recycling is done. One of the ways is organics recycling. Organics recycling is the recycling of organic material- anything that was once alive- into compost, a special soil amendment. Composting requires very small energy input and happens naturally. Organics recycling plays a crucial role in keeping valuable materials out of landfills. Organics recycling is different from backyard composting. In organics recycling organics are brought to a specialised recycling facility. This facility lines up the organics in windrows which creates more heat than the heat found in a backyard. Due to this bones, meat, paper products can also go in organic bins.
Another way of recycling is using a Zera food recycler. Zera food recycler reduces food waste by over two- thirds of its original volume by a fully automated process. It converts almost 95% of a family’s household waste and the result is ready- to use fertiliser within 24 hours. You can spread this on your lawn, outdoor plants, and garden, making Zera food recycler the easy to use solution for sending less food to the landfills and more to your land.
Food waste to energy can be converted easily. One more method of recycling food is through anaerobic digestion, which produces biogas- a natural source of energy. Food waste is placed in a digestion tank, where it is broken down by micro-organisms in an oxygen-free environment. The micro-organisms release methane gas during the decomposition process and also leave a solid waste sledge that is rich in nutrients. The methane ( biogas) is collected and burned to produce energy, while the nutrient-rich sledge ( biosolids ) can be used as organic compost to fertilise crops. For consumers, food waste can be collected and delivered by touch or through sink- disposal pipes to a municipal water resources recovery facility equipped with an anaerobic digester.
Food is thus a huge problem in the world but can be managed in multiple ways given above. Hence efforts should be made to avoid food waste and move towards a food waste-free world.
Written by: Urvi Pareek