Everyone collects their food waste in a garbage bag and leave it outside their house for the trash collecting team to clear. But have you ever wondered how this million tons of trash is decomposed and gotten rid of? Food waste is decomposed naturally by the process of anaerobic digestion. Here is everything you need to know about anaerobic digestion of food waste.
What is Anaerobic Digestion
This is the process in which organic matter including food waste, wet waste or animal waste is broken down by bacteria in the absence of oxygen. All the waste matter is collected in a container known as digester. The gases released during this process can be used as an excellent fertilizer. It can be used for farming and as biogas. This fertilizer is composed mainly of methane. Biogas can be combusted to generate heat and electricity, and can also be used as a renewable natural gas for cooking and as a fuel for transportation. Certain organic matters break down easily when compared to certain others. Those that can be easily degraded produce more biogas.
This process offers valuable products and an easy way to discard food waste and get the best out of waste. The waste is usually dumped into a landfill. Pipes are connected to these digesters that allow the newly generated biogas to be used further. In many poultry farms, cow manure is collected and then is dumped into anaerobic digesters to generate electricity.
Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion
Helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The methane gas is captured and used as a fertilizer or as fuel, which, otherwise, would have been lost to the atmosphere. This indirectly prevents climate change or global warming.
Anaerobic digestion technology used in farms help farmers to meet their increasing demand for food and survival. It helps them use water efficiently. The nutrients provided can be used for better crops and livestock. This contributes to safer and more productive farms.
The digesters can protect animal and human health by reducing pathogens.
They help in converting the nutrients in food waste into more accessible forms for the plants to use, thereby increasing productivity.
Digesters help recycle nutrients on the farm and help create an economically and environmentally sustainable system.
They product electricity, heat, and fuel from biogas that can be used on the farming sites, thereby lessening agricultural expenses and dependence on fossil fuels.
Anaerobic digestion encourages sectors to encourage food waste from restaurants and grocery stores, thereby helping them in better handling their food waste. Many farms take such food waste directly from restaurants and grocery stores, thereby decreasing the load on landfills.
Many wastewater treatment facilities are now using food waste to undergo anaerobic digestion to get better savings. They manage to save on energy costs and also benefit from onsite power productions. They also get a fee from restaurants and other such companies for clearing away their food debris.
This procedure creates job opportunities for many and also increases local tax revenue.
More and more sectors should encourage anaerobic digestion of food waste – natural solution for decomposition.