With a broad range of bio-waste to dispose of there are various bins, compost and garden waste bags, waste stations and digesters that have been developed to help us keep on top of food and garden waste. These are available for both homes and business premises, particularly aimed at making sure food waste is kept separate from everyday general waste.
According to research carried out by The Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP), we have managed to reduce the amount of food and organic waste that we now send to areas like landfill. Of the 7 million tonnes of waste we produce and treat this way, as much as 4.2 million tonnes is counted as avoidable. We can actually recycle it by using processes such as composting or anaerobic digestion that have great benefits for the environment.
Garden Waste Bags
Most councils supply local homes with one or two garden waste bags which can be filled with leaves and hedge trimmings. These are then collected by municipal services, normally on a fortnightly basis. More and more councils now operate facilities where garden waste can be taken and processed to produce compost.
Garden Waste Chippers
There are range of wood and garden waste chippers available on the market today, essentially mobile grinders that shred waste which is pushed through them. The chipped waste produced can then be bagged up and sent to the council facility or used for local composting.
Many homes and businesses will have their own composting bins for dealing with food and garden waste. For standard garden waste, such as leaves and cuttings, an open box compost heap can be utilised which simply needs to be turned over every so often as the compost forms. If you have food waste, then you are better off with a closed box with a lid. Not only does this help with potential odours that can come from food waste but also helps it break down more quickly. You can also buy smaller scale composters called wormeries which have a compartment where worms are placed and then consume the organic waste producing fertilizer.
Bio-Waste Disposal Bins
Most kitchens in the UK now have a food waste bin with biodegradable bags that can be picked up during the weekly waste collection. You can also buy food shredders that can be used to cut up vegetables and other bio-waste in preparation for the compost heap.
Anaerobic digestion is becoming a more popular way of successfully disposing of food and other organic waste, particularly on a commercial scale. Not only does it create by products such as biogas and fertiliser but it can be used for creating heating and electricity that can benefit local communities.
There are two different kinds of anaerobic digestion:
Thermophilic AD uses temperatures of up to 60°C and can handle most types of bio-waste including animal by products. This tends to be used for high solid and garden waste.
Mesophilic AD operates at lower temperatures between 35 and 40°C and will need something like a pasteurising unit attached to it that can treat animal waste. This tends to be used for slurry and low solid waste.
The future could see many towns and local councils introducing anaerobic digestion plants as energy producing measures.
Find out about the different types of bio-waste.