ManagingFood and Beverage Waste and Recycling Operations

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            The food and beverage industry offers numerous employment and economic development opportunities in the current world. However, a certain percentage of all the food and beverages that are produced end up as waste or what is commonly referred to as landfills. In this case, waste refers to all the foods and beverages that are not consumed but instead thrown away. In the United States alone, a total of sixty million tonnes of wasted food is produced with nearly 39.7m tonnes of it ending up in a landfill. All of this waste is mostly generated from peelings and trimmings, food that is out of date or spoilt, plate waste, and inedible products such as bones, coffee grounds, and tea leaves. This paper tries to show the effects of waste food and beverages, and how to recycle these foods in the best ways possible.

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            One of the effects of waste food and beverages is that they attract animals such as rats, urban wildlife, and flies to people’s dwellings (Chancellor, 2010). Pests are well known for their role in the spread of disease-causing germs. The other major effect is that as it rots away in the landfills, waste releases gases that are harmful and which pollute the air and the environment in general. The rotting process also produces methane gas. Methane is harmful to the environment because it is a greater contributor to global warming than carbon dioxide by a factor of up to twenty times.

            Every time a new brand food or beverage is made, many factors are involved, including cost, manpower, time, fuel, packaging, energy, and money (Tuppen, 2014). It is worth noting that as food and beverages are wasted, so does all of the factors listed above. Reducing wastage of food and beverages helps in reducing wastage of money, energy put in growing or producing these goods, and time and a whole lot more.  

            There are three ways through which one can participate in efforts aimed at solving this situation, and they include reducing food and beverage waste, reusing foods and beverages, and recycling these products. To reduce the number of foods and beverages wasted, one can start by limiting or reducing the amounts of these products that they buy (Chancellor, 2010). This can be helped by ensuring one measure the amount of food and beverage that they waste on a daily basis, developing an action plan on how to reduce the wastage, and reviewing their progress over the next weeks or months. With this strategy in place, one can educate their friends and colleagues on how to manage their waste, too, thus leading to a large-scale reduction in the amount of food wasted.

            The second way of managing waste is by reusing these products. A good example of this is feeding pets with some of the waste materials such as bones, fruits, and vegetables. Rather than throwing away these foods, some pets such as rabbits, dogs, and cats can consume some of these foods. Instead of throwing it all away, excess meat and bones can be fed to dogs and cats. On the other hand, rabbits and other herbivores can be fed with roughage and peelings from fruits and vegetables, which are usually thrown away as waste. Doing so will reduce significantly the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Reusing may also involve recooking some of these foods, or making another meal from leftovers (Chancellor, 2010). The leftover food and beverages can also be fed to hungry people such as street families rather than be thrown away. By doing this, one ensures that no food or beverage is wasted.  

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            The final way in which waste can be managed is by recycling. There are many companies that offer recycling services, such as Food Waste Network (Tuppen, 2014). One way of recycling is through composting. This is where organic waste decomposes naturally by biodegradation to become fertilizer. Another form of recycling is by generating energy from food waste. This can be done through the application of anaerobic digestion (AD) or the extraction of biofuel from these food wastes. The former involves breaking down biodegradable wastes by using methanogens in the absence of oxygen. This process provides biogas which can be used as a source of energy. Biofuel can also be made from cooking oil that has been thrown away as waste. A good example of a company that recycles waste oils and butter used for cooking to produce biofuel is le Manoir au Quat’ Saisons (Tuppen, 2014). It purchases fat bins from another company, Arrow Oil, and uses them to store these fats in different refrigerated rooms to prevent them from leaking or invasion by pests. Arrow Oil uses biofuel to facilitate transportation.  

            It is clear that the amount of food and beverages being wasted in the United States alone is very high. With the necessary education programs on the effects of these wastes to our environment, people could learn to stop throwing away foods. Clear guidelines and lessons should be offered to people so as to show them how to purchase and cook only what they can only consume. They should be encouraged to avoid throwing away leftovers, and instead of feeding them to the hungry, pets, or even recycling them to form biogas and biofuel.

References

Chancellor, D. (2010). Food waste. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.

Tuppen, H. (2014). Reducing and managing food waste in hotels. RetrievedMarch 08, 2016, from http://www.greenhotelier.org/know-how-guides/reducing-and-managing-food-waste-in-hotels/

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