The Food Waste Problem

Food Waste/United Nations FAO

“In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30–40 percent of the food supply. This figure, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. Wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and represents nourishment that could have helped feed families in need. Additionally, water, energy, and labor used to produce wasted food could have been employed for other purposes. Effectively reducing food waste will require cooperation among federal, state, tribal and local governments, faith-based institutions, environmental organizations, communities, and the entire supply chain.”

United States Food & Drug Administration

The incineration Problem

Often located near cities, incineration generates significant air pollution, including the emission of dioxin, which is partly responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer and the increase in the number of cancers in surrounding areas.

Organic materials are burned at very high temperatures and reduced to ash. Because they contain a high proportion of water, organic materials are detrimental to combustion, resulting in a greater amount of unburnt material, which often contain high proportions of heavy metals, which are subsequently dumped in landfills.

The landfill Problem

The two main disadvantages of landfill are the lack of space and the production of methane, an extremely harmful bio gas. Methane emissions account for about 25% of manmade global warming.1

Furthermore, landfills contain significant quantities of hazardous materials, including heavy metals that come from, among other things, electrical and electronic equipment, as well as unburnt materials from incinerators. When these hazardous materials come in contact with the liquid part of organic matter, a “chemical soup” known as leachate is produced, which can contaminate the soil and groundwater with poisonous and potentially fatal consequences.

the soil problem

An example of soil crusting

There’s been a worrying find of late: soil degradation is endangering sustainable development.2 The degradation of the quality of air and water resources are proven. But now another threat is evident. The awareness of this new threat is recent, but the evidence is now established: the soil has less and less organic matter.

Organic matter constitutes on average from 5% to 10% of the soil (most of the soil being the mineral particles). This organic material is composed of humus (70% to 90%) and an active fraction resulting from the decomposition of plant debris, especially under the action of living microorganisms. Organic matter releases mineral compounds from plant debris.

Organic matter has three functions in the soil:

  1. Nourish plants with carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and minerals
  2. Increase water retention capacity
  3. Stabilizes soil structure.

A lack of organic matter is easily identifiable by soil crusting with cracks and gullies, which are precursors of soil erosion. Eco-Digester compost can help replenish nutrient-deficient soil.

the traditional compost problem

Traditional composting methods are slow, require labor, attract rodents, and have operational costs, not to mention the amount of carbon required to support them.

However, there are undeniable qualities of compost:

  • Improves the retention of water and mineral elements of the soil
  • Improves the structure of clay soils
  • Minimizes soil erosion problems by wind and water
  • Stabilizes the pH of soils, making them more suitable for growing most plants by making nutrients available
  • Has fertilizing properties
Explore the Full Range of Eco-Digester Solutions Custom Solutions How It Works
Our complete line of composting equipment can suit practically any size operation, from your home’s kitchen to large scale farming. Eco-Digester can design, build and install a customized composting solution for your large institution or municipality Thermophile bacteria thrive in particularly hot environments. We activate the bacteria by cranking up the heat, causing them to bloom and feed on the raw waste.