You will be surprised to know that one third of the food produced for consumption across the globe goes uneaten. Shocking isn’t it? Especially when millions of households worldwide go to bed hungry. This level of waste brings with it both high financial, social, as well as environmental repercussions.
Waste can be classified into five types which are commonly found. These include liquid waste, solid rubbish, organic waste, recyclable rubbish and hazardous waste. Organic waste is any material that is biodegradable and originates from either a plant or an animal. Biodegradable waste is any material that can be broken into carbon dioxide, methane or simple organic molecules.
Residences and homes are some of the major sources of solid waste which may include both organic as well as solid rubbish. Organic waste discarded by homes include food waste, paper, leather, cardboard, yard wastes and ashes, and solid rubbish like bulky household items like electronics, tires, batteries, old mattresses and used oil.
Discarded waste originating from homes and residences is mostly organic and mostly recyclable. Organic waste should not be regarded as a source of environmental pollution that has to be gotten rid of by putting it in landfills or burned in incinerators, as this could cause other pollution problems. It should be seen as a valuable resource that can be transformed into something valuable.
Organic waste makes up as much as 70% of the total waste discarded. This high figure of 70% is contributed partly by restaurants, kitchens both domestic and industrial, bio sludge and waste from the food processing industry. The other sector that contributes to this is the farming industry which produces crop and garden waste, sawdust and fruit waste, chicken and other animal manure, and waste from abattoirs.
Management of organic waste is a major dilemma for developing countries. It generates unpleasant odors and helps rats, flies, bugs and mosquitoes multiply and spread diseases. As it decomposes, organic waste generates methane, a gas that contributes significantly to global warming. Continuing to ignore solid and organic waste management could lead to a risk of irreversible environmental deterioration. If we do not take action today, not only the present generation, even the future generations would be at risk. And our children would lay the blame entirely at our feet.
Selected organic waste can either be reduced or transformed into organically beneficial products through the application of new and innovative approaches and technology, ranging from the simple to the complex, for the reuse of these resources for energy, organic fertilizers, and animal feed. This will ultimately create new methods for improving the quality of life of the people. In addition, such an approach is in line with the principles of sustainable development. Efficient utilization of resources is closely linked with both environmental goals as well as poverty alleviation.
We should not underestimate the value that is in our trash. With fast growth in quantity of waste generated, and the soaring constraints in available resources, we have to become creative in how we transform our trash into a valuable resource. Organic waste which generally makes most of the trash that we discard, can be managed in a smarter way, like waste composting both for homes and industries.