Problems with Food Waste

20th March 2016 | Recycling

As the recycling industry has made huge steps to eliminate DMR and other waste streams from the general waste system, “food was is now the number one material that goes into landfills and incinerators”, according to Jean Schwab, senior analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency.

There are several reasons that this is a problem:

  • If your food waste is only being taken away twice a week, it sits there gently going off, attracting vermin: pigeons, rats, cockroaches, ants and flies
  • With a ready source of food, vermin multiply rapidly – there have been a number of reports in the tabloid press over the past couple of months of so-called “super-rats” which are 2ft long
  • When the food is put into landfill, it decomposes comparatively quickly, releasing methane into the atmosphere, which some believe is having a negative effect on climate change, ozone layers and so on: methane is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

According to Schwab, 15% of all the food which ends up in landfills comes from restaurants: the critical thing is that the food looks and tastes right, but what happens to the waste is low on the long list of priorities. This isn’t just leftovers, but front and back of house waste too.