Waste management options exist to treat food loss and food waste generated at each of the supply chain stages. The food can be used for animal, feed or compost. In some case the energy contained in the food can be recovered (for high energy content food, such as oils). Bio-reactor landfills can also be an option. Other option such as anaerobic digesters can be used to disintegrate food and obtain a nutrient rich compost for harvesting.
The hierarchy of food recovery
Recovering food resources should be considered first for human consumption, then animal consumption and finally for harvesting or energy recovery involving alternative waste technologies (in-vessel composting, windrow (open) composting, anaerobic digestion, bio-reactor landfills), as per the image below.
Some benefits of reduction and prevention of food loss for food manufacturers
For food manufacturers, food loss can be significant. By reducing or even preventing loss, benefits can be obtained, including:
- Disposal costs could be reduced… by avoiding cost associated to waste removal
- Labor costs could be reduced… if ingredients are purchased and prepared when needed, avoiding extra stock management
- Energy costs could be reduced… if inbound ingredients are kept as a minimum in stock, reducing refrigeration, heating, lighting, etc.
Reduction and prevention of food loss usually reduces environmental impacts associated with the life cycle of the food considered. For instance, less food loss to compost will reduce the amount of methane emissions during the degradation of food (landfilled or composted).
When loss or waste become resources
Extra food can:
- be donated to food banks
- be donated to feed animals
- be used by other industries: oil as fuel, food scraps as energy (food digester)
- be composted: create a nutrient-rich soil amendment
Learn how to reduce and prevent waste. Then you can measure the benefits from one year to another by re-conducting an assessment with DIRECT once changes have been implemented.
Source: Verghese, K., Lewis, H., Lockrey, S., Williams, H., The role of packaging in minimising food waste in the supply chain, Report prepared for CHEP, December 2013. More information on CHEP commercial Website