According to Australian National Food Waste Baseline Report, 7.3 million tons per year of food waste is generated in Australia where almost half of it end up in landfills. Household is the largest source of food waste at 34% followed by primary producers of food (31%) and manufacturing industry (24%). The rest are from wholesale, retail food services.
Food waste comprises 34% from household after consumption, 31% from primary food industry as part of production and 24% from food manufacturing. Almost 50% of the food waste end up in landfill through local councils from households or direct disposal from major food waste producers to landfill. Some big landfills are operated by local councils.
Each year Victorian households throw out 250,000 tonnes worth of food. The average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year.
Food in landfill breaks down in a way that can create greenhouse gases, including methane, which affect air quality and public health. When we waste food, we also waste the resources used to grow our food (water, soils and energy) and all the energy used to process, package and transport food from markets to our homes.
The ideal solution is to reduce the waste from source. It means that producers (primary producers and manufacturing) and consumers (household) must ideally balance its supply and demand without food wasted along the path of production and consumption. Other measures have been illustrated in the hierarchy of waste management below.
The BioCleaner Technology is to convert solid food waste into 100% energy gas and clean water with no more solid wastes. Most local councils hosting and operating landfills could extend their landfill airspace by 50% capacity because there are no more solid food wastes to be disposed of. The proposed technology is a combination of anaerobic biodigestion and aerobic remediation utilizing natural saprobic bacteria that would eat up all dead matters and biomass including its own dead microbes, leaving absolutely no solid waste by-products. This technology has already proven in wastewater treatment installations all over the world for almost 10 years. Accounts from users that this technology has been tried and tested to reduce 90% of electricity consumption and leaving zero solids generated. In Aquagem’s feasibility studies on sewerage and wastewater treatment infrastructures in the Philippines for a 1 million liters/day capacity, the CAPEX is lower by 13%-40% and OPEX is lesser than 30% to 60% vs 4 other listed and commonly-used technologies found in textbooks and journals. Please refer to table below:
The BioCleaner Technology can be designed as a complete system or can be integrated in existing biodigestion system converting the food waste into energy and clean water. There is no solid generated as it will completely be consumed by the saprobic bacteria. The treatment process will utilize the saprobic bacteria to act in between anaerobic biodigestion and aerobic bioremediation.
Food wastes (both liquid and solids) are removed from their non-biodegradable containers such as glass, plastics and styrofoams. The food waste is grinded to have a uniform particle size. It will undergo a process of biodigestion for 45 days in anaerobic chamber where methane gas is converted into energy. The biodigestate which is largely sludge will undergo an aerobic remediation process where saprobic bacteria will devour all solid waste matters under the microbial accelerated phase. When slow and stationary phase sets in, most of the microbes will die and will further be devoured by the saprobic bacteria. Any other bacteria in the system will be outcompeted by the saprobic bacteria. Within 24 hours, all the solid digestate is converted into 100% clean water and carbon dioxide. 5% of the treated water with significant saprobic bacteria will be returned to the anaerobic biodigester to act as facultative microbes helping out the anaerobic process of producing methane gas. Any toxic contaminants in treated water will further be removed by filtration before it can go to ponds where fish and plants can thrive. Excess water will comply with trade waste agreement quality with water and sewerage company or can be disposed directly to waterways.
**Sources of data & information: National Food Waste Baseline Report March 2019 ,Sustainability Victoria Website