Food waste is a significant problem in the UAE: the annual cost of food waste has been estimated at $3.5 billion, with around 38% of the food prepared daily in the UAE wasted.
The average UAE resident generates about 2.7 kilograms of waste every day, according to 2016. That’s more than double than someone in Europe – who produces just 1.2kg!
Not only does this come at a major economic and social cost, food waste decomposition in landfill leads to the release of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. A major portion of these emissions comes directly from food waste rotting in landfill.
Why is it important to recycle food waste?
Food waste that is not recycled may be sent to landfill where it rots, causing a huge negative impact on the environment by releasing methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Some local councils send their non-recyclable waste to be incinerated to create useful energy. However, food waste is composed of about 70% water, requiring considerably more energy to burn it, making this a less efficient method of disposal than recycling.
More and more people are recycling their food waste. If we all stopped wasting the food which could have been eaten, it would have the same CO2 impact as taking 1 in 4 cars off the roads.
How is food waste recycled?
Many local authorities now collect food waste, which can be recycled in several ways including:
This involves mixing food waste with garden waste – shredding it and then composting it in an enclosed system for around 2-4 weeks at temperatures of up to 70°C. This speeds up the composting process and ensures any harmful microbes are killed off. The material is then left outside to mature for a further 1-3 months with regular turning and quality checks before going on to be used as soil conditioner.
This process uses microorganisms to break down food waste, animal manure, slurries and energy crops in the absence of oxygen, inside an enclosed system. As it breaks down it gives off methane, which is collected and converted into biogas and used to generate electricity, heat or transport fuels. It also creates a nutrient-rich digestate that can be used as a fertilizer for agriculture and in land regeneration.
How can you recycle and reduce food waste at home?
If you live in an area that has a local food waste recycling collection service, you can use this to dispose of anything you can’t eat, or compost at home.
- A food waste container in your kitchen can help you to separate out your food waste for recycling and composting. This can be emptied into your compost bin or council food waste bin every couple of days.
- Your local authority may recommend that you line your food waste container with a liner or newspaper. Only use liners that are recommended by your council as some may not break down in the composting process.
- Where possible keep your bins out of direct sunlight and keep the bin lid closed.
- Only buy what you need and eat what you buy. For ideas, recipes and simple tips to help you reduce the amount of food you waste visit the Love Food Hate Waste website. You could also try to compost at home.
https://www.bi.team/blogs/new-results-reducing-food-waste-in-the-uaes-cafeterias/#:~:text=Food %20waste%20is%20a%20significant,daily%20in%20the%20UAE%20wasted.&text=Imagine%2 0you%20go%20to%20have,if%20you%20have%20one