Solid food waste recycling still a major problem for many communities

While many individuals may be doing their part to recycle common household items, such as aluminum cans, plastic containers, paper products and other items, solid food waste is still a heavy burden on local waste disposal companies. According to the Asbury Park Press, some 31 million tons of food waste are thrown away every year in the United States, and scientists from Kean University in New Jersey are coming up with ingenious ways of putting this waste to good use.

Food waste is a major problem for the waste industry, as it is the heaviest and costliest part of garbage collection. This means higher costs for disposal, transportation fees and increased prices for per-ton dumping charges at local landfills. In addition, the increased emissions from these vehicles exacerbates the lack of sustainability needed to dispose of biodegradable materials.

Professor Ernest J. Kuhlwein from Kean University has created a food composting system at the school that could take tons of waste out of local landfills. He has demonstrated a project that could work for schools, businesses and households called the aerobic digester. This example of institutional composting is meant to attract larger institutions to reduce their carbon footprint and food disposal costs. Because of the lack of a market for compostable material, this could be the most viable option for large-scale businesses.

Homeowners who would like to reduce their food waste can take a huge step to in doing so by starting their own compost heap. By buying a small bin at your neighborhood hardware store, you can recycle all sorts of biodegradable materials and help to reduce how much waste is leaving your home. Additionally, if you're an avid gardener, compost makes an excellent fertilizer and can help remove one expense from your summer home improvement projects.