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How can businesses recycle food waste?

Although businesses have been collectively working to end unnecessary food waste, there is still a large amount of food that goes to landfill unnecessary. By partnering with a food waste management company, businesses can recycle food waste in an environmentally friendly way.

Helping the UK get on the right track to recycling unavoidable food waste is Warrens Group, one of the top organic waste management companies in the North East.

Warrens partners with businesses all over the UK to collect food waste and transport it to their state of the art anaerobic digestion facility for recycling. At the facility, anaerobic digestion is a process which turns the food waste into clean energy products such as heat, electricity, transport fuel and biofertiliser.

The process of anaerobic digestion

Step 1 – Removing contaminants:

Firstly, the organic fuel is screened for contaminants.

Step 2 – Treating the fuel:

Once screened, the fuel is treated to ensure a smooth consistency. Then fuel is fed into a digestion unit for breakdown by microorganisms.

Step 3 – Into the plant:

Digestion units are either Mesophilic or Thermophilic, which refers to the temperature range which the microorganisms work best within.

Step 4 – The different stages of breakdown:

The breakdown of the organic material begins here, and involves four stages of chemical processes which creates usable biogas. These stages are:

a) Hydrolysis: The first stage sees the breakdown of complex matter, such as carbohydrates and proteins, broken down into sugars and amino acids. These are normally long-chain chemical compounds, but hydrolysis breaks them down into single molecules.

b) Acidogenesis: In the second stage, microorganisms break down the single molecules of sugar and amino acids even further into ethanol and fatty acids, as well as producing carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide as by-products.

c) Acetogenesis: In the third stage, the ethanol and fatty acids are converted into hydrogen, carbon dioxide and acetic acid.

d) Methanogenesis: In the fourth and final stage, microorganisms convert the remaining hydrogen and acetic acid into methane and more carbon dioxide.

Step 5 – The end product:

Methane biogas created by anaerobic digestion is supplied to the grid or converted into biofuel. The process also creates digestate as a by-product, a nutrient-rich fertiliser.

A partnership with a waste management company like Warrens not only benefits the environment, but businesses themselves. By placing sustainability at the heart of its values, companies show that they are dedicated to stopping the long-term impact their business will make on the planet.

Businesses such as supermarket chains and restaurants are at risk of wasting vast amounts of food and the money it costs, but weekly collections from a waste management company combats the issue in an easy and environmentally friendly way.

At Warrens, businesses can have their food waste collected and give it a new life as clean energy. If your business is looking to recycle its food waste, get in touch with our expert team here.