Nowadays you are supposed to sort your garbage in most places. Paper has been recycled for quite some time. In a lot of places, glass waste, in form of bottles and jars, has its own bins. Lately, plastic waste has also got its own bins. Such waste is easy to understand but what is organic waste?
The short answer is that organic waste is waste from living organisms, both plants and animals. Organic waste is biodegradable. This means that it can be degraded by living organisms, which means that it will be broken down fairly quickly and naturally.
Organic food has become very popular but the word organic does not have the same definition as in organic waste. While organic food becomes organic waste, organic waste includes much more than just organic food.
Most households produce a lot of organic waste. According to a study in the UK, about 21% of household waste is organic. So what should you do with your organic waste? The best way of handling organic waste is to return it to nature the natural way. This means putting it into a compost heap. Households are not the only source of organic waste. Restaurants and supermarkets generate a lot of organic waste, such as leftovers and spoiled vegetables. Organic waste also includes garden waste, for example grass clippings. A number of industries generate organic waste as well. This means that municipalities have a lot of organic waste to deal with.
Needless to say, far from every household has their own compost heap. A few municipalities have compost facilities but they are the exceptions. In most cases, organic waste ends up in landfills. It has been well known for a long time that organic waste in landfills create a lot of problems. Lately, a lot of money has been spent on research looking for better ways of handling organic waste.
Biogas and animal feed are two examples of what organic waste can be used for. Using organic waste for animal feed is illegal in many countries. This is due to the risk of transmitting diseases. Biogas is created by the anaerobic composting, or strictly speaking anaerobic decomposing. It is produced in special biogas plants. Biogas can be converted into electricity or heat. Compressed biogas can be used to power vehicles. In Europe, biogas has become a common source for transportation vehicles.
In some places the installation of garbage disposals is being encouraged. This is because the municipalities want to convert the food waste that reaches the waste water plants into biogas. By throwing most of your food waste into the waste disposer, it travels through the sewers to the waste water plant. The waste water plant converts the shredded food waste into biogas.
In summary, to answer the basic question: what is food waste? The short answer is waste from living organisms, both plants and animals.