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Plates piled up with food waste

How to Recycle

Here’s why you should recycle your inedible food waste

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When it comes to the concept of ‘waste not, want not’, you’re probably already doing everything you can to make the most of leftovers from your meals so that nothing goes in the bin.

If you’ve been picking up good food habits from our friends at Love Food Hate Waste, you might also be using every edible morsel of the food you buy!

But what about the bits you can’t eat? What about your teabags, banana peel and the bones of that chicken you roasted on Sunday? Well, you may not be able to turn them into a tasty meal, but you can do one better – turn it into power instead!

Close up of vegetable peelings on a chopping board with hands behind preparing vegetables

Imagine a world powered by food waste

Recycling inedible food waste transforms the bits of your food that you can’t eat into energy and power products, and you’d be amazed at the good use it can be put to.

Did you know, for instance, that 570 recycled tea bags could generate enough energy to power a DJ set for one hour?

Or that nine recycled banana peels could generate enough energy to fully charge a laptop?

Or that a caddy load of food waste could generate enough electricity to power a home for almost an hour, or a guitar amp for almost 2½ hours?

When you put it like that, why wouldn’t you recycle your unwanted food waste!

How does food waste recycling work?

When your food waste is recycled, it can be used to create some useful stuff that helps the planet. Chief among these are natural forms of energy, such as biogas, which are created through a process called ‘anaerobic digestion’ and provide an excellent alternative to fossil fuels. In some parts of the country, food waste is also turned into great fertiliser for spreading on fields, helping to grow the meals you’ll be cooking next year!

Depending on where you live, your council may incinerate your non-recyclable rubbish – which isn’t very efficient when it’s food we’re talking about, because it’s 70% water and therefore needs more energy to burn. In some areas, if you put inedible food waste into your main rubbish, it may end up in landfill, slowly rotting and giving off harmful methane – a greenhouse gas that’s a whopping 25% more potent than carbon dioxide.

At the moment, around a quarter of the waste found in general rubbish is food, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.

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