Every day, we cook, we eat, and we drink. These routines translate into a significant amount of waste. According to the latest reports, the average municipal waste generated in the European Union (EU) represents 505 kg per capita. Far from being equally distrusted, the amount of trash produced by a single person ranges from 282 kg in Romania to 845 kg in Denmark, depending on consumption patterns and economic wealth but also on how municipal waste is collected and managed.
At Micro4Biogas, we are working on a solution to improve organic waste management. It turns out that, among the diverse waste products we accumulate every day, the organic fraction comes mainly from food. Food waste impacts both natural and human resources, and several waste prevention programmes exist across the EU. Despite these efforts to educate against throwing away good food, spoilage still costs billions of euros every year. But what if we use our scraps to produce renewable fuel?
Turning the tables on food waste
Food production fundamentally depends on natural resources, such as water, land, soil, and nutrients. It also consumes a lot of energy, mostly in the form of fossil fuels, for both manufacturing and transport. By spoiling it we are not only wasting the food itself but also all the resources we’ve invested in its production.
In a world where millions of people are facing emergency levels of hunger, food waste has grave impacts on the planet and society. To tackle this issue, all actors in the food chain must work together. From farmers to processors, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, everyone must play their part.
To lead these changes, the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste aims to revalorise food waste, enabling a smoother transition to a circular economy. Efforts that envision a future based on reduced environmental impacts, improved resource management, and advances in food safety and security. To move towards these ambitious goals, better waste management is a must, and that’s where biogas comes in!
Biogas for sustainable development
Biogas is a product of the decomposition of organic materials. Placed in a biodigester, residues such as food scraps, farming waste, or even sewage, are broken down by anaerobic microorganisms that release methane and carbon dioxide. This green fuel can be stored, and then used much the same way as natural gas.
With direct impacts and contributions to 12 of the 17 sustainable development goals, the benefits of biogas go from solving the problem of organic waste to controlling methane emissions. Under traditional waste management strategies, methane is released into the atmosphere, impacting the Earth’s temperature and climate. But in this scenario, this greenhouse gas is trapped and converted into energy.
Besides the advantages of biogas as an energy source, with its production, we can also obtain digestate as a by-product. This clean fertilizer can be used on local crops, which in turn generate new biomass: a truly circular approach.
By optimising the production of biogas, our work at Micro4Biogas is aligned with the circular and bio-economy goals of the European Union. Now, with the REPowerEU action plan set to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels, we’re excited to support Europe’s transition to renewable energy. Keep track of our progress and the latest updates on our blog, as well as our Twitter account!