If you have not been living under a rock, you will agree that safe and efficient food waste management is a critical part of maintaining clean living conditions, conserving valuable resources and combating environmental damage.
When you segregate your establishment waste and hand it into the municipal authorities at a cost, which is invariably high, it is natural to be concerned about whether that waste is being treated appropriately.
In recent years, various myths have been circulating about waste removal practices and what happens to the items you hand in to be recycled. Here, we bust some of the most typical waste-related myths and give you the true story.
Myth #1: Your recycling waste is not recycled.
Reality: It is a common misconception that the food waste products you hand in for recycling do not actually get recycled but are just sent to landfill.
In fact, thanks to advances in waste management technology, landfill is now an option for only a tiny fraction of waste material, such as building rubble.
Myth #2: Large proportions of the UK’s food waste get shipped abroad.
Reality: There has been some negative press lately about waste getting shipped abroad for processing. The UK, in fact, has a highly efficient nationwide recycling and recovery network that allows food leftovers to be treated right here.
Myth #3: Energy from food waste treatment facilities generates harmful gases.
Reality: This is a myth that many believe in and gets perpetuated mainly because of the size of most treatment plants.
Research has shown that the entire energy recovery industry in the UK generates about one-sixth of the dioxins emitted by a single bonfire in a whole year.
Food waste management facilities comply with all air pollution standards and ensure that the exhaust gases they emit are filtered adequately before they exit.
Myth #4: Food waste recycling companies do not care about the environment.
Reality: Such companies are deeply committed to protecting and improving the environment.
They use technology that enables waste processing with minimal environmental harm, and recycling plants are constantly researching ways to recycle more types of waste.
Many food waste management companies are also committed to helping the community learn more about sustainable practices and recycling. They do so by creating online content or hosting educational sessions.
Myth #5: Your general waste all ends up in the landfill.
Reality: Happily for the environment, landfill is being used less and less as a waste disposal option with every passing year. The amount of waste sent to landfill in 2018 was only 20% of the amount sent in 1995, and that fraction continues to come down.
Materials recovery facilities segregate waste to recycle as much of it as possible. In contrast, the portion that cannot be recycled goes to energy recovery facilities, combusted to generate heat and electricity.
Myth #6: Aerosols cannot be recycled
Reality: Another common myth, aerosols can, in fact, be recycled as long as they are empty and you put all removable parts in the correct waste disposal bins. Also, do not puncture or modify the aerosol can, turning it into hazardous waste.
Myth #7: Some types of waste are unrecyclable by default.
Reality: Waste items like candy wrappers or crisp packets are assumed to be impossible to recycle, but bespoke recycling processes have been developed to take care of these hard-to-treat items.
Our iD-R-5K Compact AD system comes with an i-FDR Flexidry depackaging system which carefully separates the packaging from the organic food waste, leaving two viable recycling streams. This maximises environmental benefits and increases efficiency by minimising operational time.
Myth #8: Biodegradable items are by default better for the environment.
Reality: It can be tempting to switch over to single-use biodegradable products to believe that you are helping the environment.
However, while these products are certainly better than regular single-use items (such as organic cotton wet wipes versus regular wipes that contain plastic fibres), they could still take a while to biodegrade.
A better option, therefore, is to reduce your consumption of single-use items as much as possible. Also, remember not to flush wet wipes down the toilet or club them with your home compost waste pile, as the wipes will contain traces of contaminants like makeup and will not break down in your composter.
Over to you
It is indeed frustrating to see the myths circulating about waste management, including the handling of food waste. But if you are willing to break the cycle and make an effort to establish a proper system that can help you process food waste efficiently and convert it into waste, visit our website for more details or contact us by filling the form.