Victoria University, in collaboration with three councils, has led a survey of household food waste management, in the hopes of developing a sustainable household food waste solution.
It is estimated that 95 per cent of the worlds millions of tonnes of food waste goes to landfill every year, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of groundwater.
Dr Meris Zheng, of Victoria University, Managing Director at EnviroInsights Pty Ltd and previously Consultant at E.E.T. Services said that developing a viable alternative to landfill will play an important role in diverting waste from landfill.
“There is an urgent need to better address the management and disposal of household food waste. Managing it is costly and the issues are compounded by increasing urban populations,” she said.
The survey was carried out across metropolitan Melbourne and targeted residents of detached houses, semi-detached houses/low-rise dwellings, and high-rise dwellings, regarding their food waste habits.
Using this information, Zheng is hoping to develop an on-site treatment for food waste, which would see the production of biogas for domestic use.
This would enable each household to have an appliance which would transform food waste into biogas, which would then supplement the households supply of energy.
This residue from the appliance would be used as compost, diminishing the reliance on landfill.
“On-site, small-scale technology will reduce the environmental impacts and the costs arising from collection, sorting and transport and turn the waste into energy and fertiliser,” Zheng said. “This promises to close the loop of production from the end of food chain and finally to achieve ‘zero waste’ at the micro scale.”
“We are confident that the combination of an extensive targeted survey of household food waste management in the Melbourne metropolitan area, coupled with the design and trialling of a household pilot plant, will result will be a commercially viable product,” she added.