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Composting food waste causes huge greenhouse gas emissions: report

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Ground Report | New Delhi: Composting food waste; A new study has shown that manure leftover from biogas production results in significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than emissions from untreated waste manure.

To achieve a circular economy, good management of organic waste is very important. We need recycling technologies that emit the least amount of greenhouse gases into the environment, as well as the re-introduction of soil organic matter and their nutrients into the soil.

The residue left after biogas formation contains valuable nutrients, so they can be used as agricultural fertilizers. After treatment, the process of converting them into manure is adopted, for which they are converted into a solid, low odor, safe, and soil fertility.

In the study, researchers found that greenhouse gas emissions, in particular methane emissions, food waste is much higher than the emissions from composting the (compost) making, composting food waste as the untreated.

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Composting food waste

12-fold higher methane emission was measured in the compost of the leftover food. Maria Dietrich, a research scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), says the amount of methane released by composting the food leftover after the food waste was very high, which surprised us.

In the study, greenhouse gas emissions from composting raw food waste were compared to emissions from composting cooked food waste. The results showed that the total methane emissions from the compost of cooked food waste were about 12 times higher than from raw food waste compost over three weeks.

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In addition to greater methane emissions, the researchers found that nitrous oxide emissions during composting were significantly higher from cooked food waste than from raw food waste. However, the overall global warming potential mainly results from excess methane emissions.

Simply put, the end result of composting occurs when organic materials, such as food scraps, leaves and animal products, are properly decomposed. It is a nutrient-rich, dirt-like material that can be used to enrich the soil and promote growth.

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“What you’re doing by composting is feeding an ecosystem of microorganisms,” Episdorf said. “So just like you want to feed yourself a healthy, balanced diet, you also want to feed those microorganisms a healthy balanced diet. So you’re going to give them a variety of options to choose from. Thus, all napkins. No and not all just coffee grounds.”

No global warming potential

“We think that imports of microorganisms designed for methane production through feedstock, especially methanogens in the digest, may increase methane production during the post-casting process,” says Dietrich.

In the future, the adoption of microbial communities in raw materials and subsequently during the composting process may be a promising way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, this can be done by eliminating methane-producing micro-organisms from it before making it compost.

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In 2020, it was discovered that composting digests of food waste had little or no global warming potential. Dietrich says these results clearly indicate that applying it to the soil results in lower greenhouse gas emissions and that emissions during the composting process can also offset the greater global warming potential.

He said it is important to note that the organic matter content is reduced by half during anaerobic digestion before it leaves the system as a digester. Anaerobic digestion or anaerobic digestion: by microorganisms breaking down sewage or other organic waste material, typically used as a means of waste disposal or energy production.

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