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Can food waste feed UK waste collection fleets? A sustainable approach to waste Management

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Patrizia Franco, Dr Fabio Galatioto, Professor Margaret Carol Bell CBE


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In a period when waste is considered more a resource than the final stage of a product, local authorities (LAs) have been challenged by the pressure to invest to improve the sustainability of the waste cycle. However, funds from central governments have been reduced in the last decade which is likely to continue in the near future. Currently food waste still mixed mainly with residual waste is landfilled producing damaging greenhouse gases and costing to LAs more and more every year. This paper focuses on the second phase of the SECURE project where future sustainable scenarios for 2030 and 2050 will be modelled. While technologies are making good progress producing energy out of waste (e.g. incineration and anaerobic digestion of food and garden waste), waste collection and transport related costs are still playing a major role in the budget of LAs. Building up from a trial of separation of food waste in Newcastle upon Tyne and from the performance of the waste to energy plant used by the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership, different scenarios have been investigated and assessed taking into account different waste treatment and vehicle technologies in order to assess the potential of using food waste as the source of energy/fuel required to operate the waste collection fleets. Preliminary results are showing that anaerobic digestion of food waste if combined with thermal treatments of the remaining residual waste has the potential to achieve a self-contained system which will reduce drastically the use of non-sustainable resource and the budget currently used, providing also considerable amount of net energy to the grid and the potential for jobs creation in food waste separation and treatment plants.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Franco P, Galatioto F, Bell MCB

Editor(s): Universities Transport Study Group

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 47th Annual UTSG Conference

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 12

Print publication date: 05/01/2015

Online publication date: 05/01/2015

Acceptance date: 30/09/2014