Proposal analysing the food waste obtained from all

Proposal for reducing carbon
emissions from household food waste

Ch. Yasaswini Lakshmi

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Title: Community
composting and home composting – sustainable way of disposing food waste from
households and thereby reducing carbon emissions.

Rationale:

 This proposal
determines an alternative for reducing carbon footprint by analysing the food
waste obtained from all the households in UK, the total cost of disposal,
people’s concerns and total carbon emitted from the resulting food waste. Community
composting is a process where group of people or a colony share a green cone composter
at a fixed central point in their own locality. The food waste is collected and
gathered for composting instead of disposing it on the landfills.

                            

How the proposed research contributes to
carbon reduction:

71% of food waste comes from households. Food
waste comprises of 30% of household waste and much of the avoidable food waste
such as scraps, cooked food, and meat still goes to landfill. CO2 from food
waste on landfill sites is equal to quarter of emissions released by cars in
UK. Composting when possible can diminish the carbon footprint due to disposal
of household food waste by 40%. It also reduces 90% of food waste and leaves
very little residue called as compost. This results in less number of shuttles
for garbage disposal and less fuel consumption. According to WRAP, “avoidable
household food that goes to landfills each year:  Fresh fruit and vegetables: £2.6bn /
1,200,000 t. Bakery: £860 m / 450,000 t. Home-made and pre-prepared meals: £2.1bn
/ 440,000 t. Dairy products £780 m / 420,000 t. £290m worth of milk is thrown
away.”

Before composting

After composting

Avoidable Food waste going to landfills.

7.3 million tonnes valued at £25billion

 3.5  million tonnes

Carbon emissions from avoidable food waste. CO2 eq.

19 million tonnes

9 million tonnes

 

 

Additional benefits:

·      
Doesn’t produce bad odour. No threat of rodents
and pests in the neighbourhood.

·      
Decreases waste percentage in your home.

·      
The residue can be used as a fertiliser to
improve the quality of soil. This reduces water pollution caused due to
chemically harmful fertilisers and pesticides in agricultural areas.

·      
Provides education and raises awareness on
sustainability, recycling and composting.

·      
Since a portion of waste is removed from houses,
recycling becomes much easier.

·      
Avoids cross-contamination of food waste and
other materials.

 

Project description:

Working:
Green cone composter converts all kinds of food waste, raw and cooked, shells
and bones, into good quality compost. The final residue can be used as a
fertiliser in gardens or sold for agricultural use. It uses sun’s energy to generate
high temperature inside the cone for rapid microbiological processes. The dual
cones create air gap, which enables continuous movement of fresh air. This
maintains oxygen levels within the cone and creates aerobic conditions and
helps to alleviate foul smell. The underground basket is covered and safe from
critters. The Green Cone composter can also be used for human and pet solid waste
during emergency circumstances.

Equipment:
Garden shovel to dig hole, screwdriver to fix parts, safety gloves, compost
bin.

Methods:
The food waste from households goes into the composter. It has a capacity to
digest 6 kg of food waste per day and one composter can be fixed for 5 houses
or in a city farm, parks and gardens. Once the underground basket is filled
with compost, it can be emptied easily once every 3 to 6 months. The
communities can collaborate with the local municipality to collect the compost
and deliver it to the needful.

This
proposal requires acceptance from the citizens. Door-to-door campaign is often
the most suitable approach because it will have a direct impact on the individuals.
Showing people works rather than teaching people. This can be done in the
beginning of every street by setting up a sample composter with some compost in
it. It helps deal with people’s worries and concerns, and changes their perspective
of using the green cone composter.

Parents
also learn a lot from their children. School children must be taught about
composting and make them aware that the leftovers from school meals are used to
produce compost to grow vegetables in the school garden.

Location:
The composting site should be – Nearer to or within the households producing
the waste as it keeps freight costs low, and gives a better environmental
message. Easily accessible to medium sized vehicles. Parks or farms without stagnant water to avoid
inconvenient and substandard work. Screened from neighbours who might
object to the project

Licensing:
Approval from the local authority to re-schedule waste collection days for the
households and collecting compost, to allot, operate and execute the proposal.
Licence for selling the compost – BSI PAS 100 standard. Permission for setting
up composters in suitable common areas – T23 exemption.

Possible costs:

Marketing and awareness i.e. leaflets,
posters, samples etc: £5million

Hire /purchase of tools and equipment: £20million

Rent and lease amount (can be negotiated
for free, stating a public cause)

Licence fees.

 

Possible savings: The amount of food being
sent to landfill is approximately 7.3 million tonnes, costing UK residents £700
per year.

Average amount spent on food that could
have been eaten but is thrown away: £470 by a family and £700 by families with
children.

The average family could save almost £60
a month. A UK household spends around £75 per month for clearing waste from
homes. Composting food waste cuts the quantity of waste to be collected by 11%
and thereby reduces collection costs, fuel and transportation costs.

Income: selling compost – £10
per tonne of compost.

 

Funding:

Food waste is collected from households
on a daily basis. Since the composter reduces nearly 90% of food waste, the
collection days will be dropped significantly. Hence, disposal costs are
minimised, the saved amount can be diverted for purchasing a composter.

Large organisations and institutions may
sponsor at least for few. For example: if Unilever sponsors composters
sufficient for a locality, they can set up a signboard indicating their
contribution.

In rural areas and villages, LEADER
approach (Rural Development Programme) could be acquired by community networks.

There are more than 4,500 charitable
trusts and foundations in the UK providing grants, ranging from national,
multi-million pound funds, to small, local trusts.

Landfill Communities Fund can be accessed
to compensate areas influenced by industrial activities and landfills sites.

Sustainable Development Fund is a grant
scheme administered by National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
(AONB) in England to realise sustainable livelihood.

 

Challenges:

·      
People don’t usually acknowledge importance of
waste management unless they directly engage in reducing waste.

·      
Most of the people are laggards. They don’t participate
unless someone does. They must be guaranteed of the set-up, so word of mouth
certainly assists.

·      
Uncertain about consistent use of composters.

Expertise needed:

Fixing,
using and maintaining a green cone composter doesn’t require any expertise. Pre-
training is more than enough. Volunteers and people participating in campaigns
and awareness programmes should portray good knowledge on green cone composter
and community composting.  Applying for
funds require a little expertise, to know all about legalities and funding
process. Hence, the proposal requires an organised group of few senior
composters for training citizens on composting, financial and legal
administrators to contact and apply for funding provisions, licences, and
permits, municipal officer to manage waste and compost collection schedules.

Project management:

Form
the community network group. Clarify roles for all the departments. Identify
and contact the funding agencies. Apply for funds and licences if required.
Contact the companies trading green cone composters for procurement. Lease
spaces in farms and public parks. Get the funds and tie up with a local
university and gather environmental science students to conduct awareness
programs and campaigns with the help of senor composters near the locality to
train people. Set up composters in planned number of households and in community
parks. Establish relation with local waste management department and plan waste
and compost collection schedule.

References:

Department
for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (2017) UK’s Carbon Footprint 1997 – 2014. July. Available at
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/629880/Consumption_emissions_July17_Final.pdf
(Accessed: 18 January 2018).

Gilbert,
J (2012) Community Funding Landscape.
March. Available at http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/funding-community-composting-and-ad-projects
(Accessed: 19 January 2018).

Gov.uk
(2014) Waste exemption: T23 aerobic
composting and associated prior treatment. Available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waste-exemption-t23-aerobic-composting-and-associated-prior-treatment
(Accessed: 21 January 2018).

Lenkiewicz,
Z (2017) Community composting: bringing a
circular economy home (Part II). Available at:
https://wasteaid.org.uk/community-composting-bringing-circular-economy-home-part-ii/
(Accessed: 18 January 2018).

Quested,
T., Parry, A (2017) Household Food Waste
in UK, 2015. January. Available at http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/funding-community-composting-and-ad-projects
(Accessed: 19 January 2018).

Tamar
energy (2018) The UK’s food waste problem.
Available at: http://www.tamar-energy.com/food-waste-recycling/the-uks-food-waste-problem/
(Accessed: 18 January 2018).

WRAP
(2017) Estimates of Food Surplus and
Waste Arisings in the UK. January. Available at http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Estimates_%20in_the_UK_Jan17.pdf
(Accessed: 18 January 2018).

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