When excess food at any stage of the food system can’t be diverted to people in need, the next best option is to feed it to animals. Even with the best systems in place to develop an efficient food system, there will always be some fraction that is not fit for consumption. This material should be recycled and reused to minimize the environmental burden and allow for recovery of part of the resources initially used in its production, processing and transport, creating a more circular food system.
In a circular system, food waste is recycled by treatment to stabilize it, anaerobic digestion and composting are common food waste treatment technologies used to stabilize waste and produce residual materials that can replenish the soil, thus contributing to a circular food system. While a circular system uses resources more efficiently, the approach is not without risk. The authors of this paper investigated heavy metals, halogenated organic compounds, foodborne pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the food system and their fates during digestion and composting.
While not impossible to mitigate, design, planning, and waste characterization play tremendous roles in sustainable systems.
Recorded at the Virtual Conference on April 15, 2021, this recording is available online.
Moderated by Michelle Gluck of Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, the panel discusses waste reduction, composting, anaerobic digestion, compost use, carbon sequestration…so many avenues to reduce climate impacts through organics management.
We’ll hear about New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the progress of its waste advisory panel, and from a Climate Smart Community on how they’re planning to manage their organics with greenhouse gas emissions in mind.
Suzanne Hagell, Climate Policy Analyst, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Molly Trembley, Environmental Engineer, NYSDEC
Tracie Onstad Bills discussed how to sort through policy, program, and infrastructure to focus on the tools and concepts most useful in the thoughtful planning and preparation for organics service.
Tracie is the Northern California Director of Sustainable Materials Management at SCS Engineers.