Food Waste Handling in Asian Countries
– A Review
Abarquez, Lianess Blossom D.
Abstract. Overall, this review paper focuses on the different methods on managing the food waste in different Asian countries compromise of selected countries such as, Malaysia, Japan, China, Thailand, and Philippines. Since food waste is a major debatable issued faced on the society right now, the governments of different Cities are currently finding ways on how to cope up with the challenge. Strategies, methods, green technologies applied, and knowledge on how to deal with food waste management of different countries are focused and are clearly highlighted in these review paper which will serve as a preliminary model for other developing countries.
Keywords: Managing food waste, preliminary model, food waste, green technologies.
Food is an essential individual need and it is very important for our own survival and performance as individuals. This very important ways of survival gets the unfortunate fate of being wasted more than anything in the world. Food goes through a lot of processes before it finally reaches the consumer. At every stage along the process, wastage is sure to occur. However it was found that food waste has of factors which contributes to the environmental issue, among which are the lack of suitable technology, complications in managing food, deficiency in proper laws and legislations and consumers’ behaviour. According to a statistical survey, almost one-third of food produced for human consumption is wasted globally. The lacking of the earth’s resources has always been an important thing to worry, making the issue of universal famine and food waste the heart of the interest. Even though households regularly confine the phrase ‘food waste’ to uneatable bits of foodstuff and surpluses but many definitions went beyond that.
For Southeast Asia, it is estimated that 33% of food is wasted in the region. In Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries, food waste is considered a major out growing problem and is one of the most debatable societal issues. These problems came from the fact that the amount of food waste generated in the country is increasing at a geometric rate especially in large cities and the increasing awareness among the general public on food waste issues.
Food waste is often ignored on a daily basis due to living nature of human beings via different domestic activities such as agricultural, and industrial activities. Basically, food waste sources can be divided into three groups which are comprised of food losses, food materials lost during preparation, processing and production phases in the food supply chain, unavoidable food waste, the inedible parts of food materials lost during consumption phase like fruit peels, fruit core, and avoidable food waste, these edible food materials that were lost during consumption phase are all considere as food wastage.
Food waste however decreases the sustainability of food to the people. When almost one third of globally produced food is wasted everyday, there are millions of people who still suffer by starvation and malnutrition especially for countries that are experiencing the global financial crisis. It should be bear in mind that food waste issue is not only associated with social, economic, environmental aspects, but it is also an ethical problem, that needs to be seriously considered seriously. A research from Thi et al., (2015) reported that food waste might emit greenhouse gases that give off negative impacts to climate changes. To further increase general awareness to the public, such as campaigns like the 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) through proper knowledge and education and incentive policy should be practice.
Overall, this paper draws information on food waste status in different asian and regional countries which include current issues like knowledge, technology used and proper practices and implications and regulations. The adoption of good food waste management techniques in developed countries could be taken as a preliminary model in the process of enhancing a successful food waste management policies.
Food Waste Trends in Malaysia
Malaysia is well known for its great food. Malaysians are proud of the diversity and tastiness of their food – all things that Malaysians are quick to brag about. But on the flip side, unique food culture is also turning into a culture of waste. Basically it is hard to find any scholarly article regarding food waste statistics in Malaysia since most published papers would consider food waste as part of the Municipal solid waste. In Malaysia, the authority is facing strenuous challenges in food waste handling and treatment. Food waste imparts the current environmental issue due to its improper separation with municipal solid waste and that it attributed to the production of greenhouse gases in landfills. According to a recent study, it was also found that a household of five spent an average of 210 USD a month on food and that a quarter of that food was wasted during the preparation, cooking and usage processes. Literally about a couple of dollars goes into the dustbin every month. MSW generally are composed of around 20 different categories of food waste, and these are cardboard, plastics, metals, diapers, newsprint, fruit waste, green waste, batteries, construction waste and glass; and these different categories of solid waste can be grouped into organic and inorganic. Overall, MSW in Malaysia are comprised of 50% of food waste, and 70% as disposed at the landfill sites in Malaysia.
Efforts in managing food waste in Malaysia
Due to limited budget for food waste management, it is hard to implement proper food waste management and policy for food waste treatment. In order to increase efficiency further, the privatization of waste management in Malaysia was first initiated in the year 1993 with the objectives of providing an integrated, effective, efficient, and technologically enhanced waste management system. It was also expected to resolve the problems of solid waste management faced by the local authorities such as financial crisis, lack of knowledge, illegal dumping, open burning, and a lack of proper solid waste disposal sites. The steady increase in MSW over the years has prompted government-funded public information campaigns to establish awareness and to create environmental consciousness among the general public.
As of now, landfilling is the main method of waste disposal of approximately 80% usage in Malaysia. This method is expected to go down to 65% in the year 2020. In European countries, only those that cannot be recycled will be taken to the landfill, whereas in many of developing Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India and Indonesia, all types of wastes are disposed in landfills without any pre-treatment. There are 186 waste disposal sites that are in operation, out of which only eight are considered sanitary, while many of the others are open dump sites. Most landfills in Malaysia are in bad conditions, and are operated without proper protective parameters, such as lining systems, leachate treatment and gas venting. The detrimental effects of landfills created different environmental problems such as leachate, groundwater contamination, potential release of toxic gases and odor. A big part of these problems comes from organic waste and solid waste materials that are made of food waste such as fruit peels, leftovers, and scraps.
Nature-friendly food waste handling methods
For future implementation in Malaysia instead of incineration or landfill which give detrimental effects to the environment and to the health of the people, the best option is to go for nature-friendly food waste handling methods which include composting, anaerobic digestion or animal feeding.
Anaerobic digestion of food waste is a biological process involving biodegradation of putrescible
organic substrate into biogas via four main steps or procedures such as, hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis and methanogenesis. A research study from Meako says, diverting food waste from landfills will not only conserve limited landfill space, but also help to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Anaerobic digestion was recognized as an economic and environmental friendly solution to food waste. In the anaerobic digestion process, organic matter is broken down in a zero-oxygen (anaerobic) atmosphere to form a gas mixture known as biogas, which consists of methane (50–70% volume), carbon dioxide (25–50% volume) and other small quantities of hydrogen, hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and other trace gases. This method has a lot of qualitative benefits such as reducing the amount of MSW, transportation cost of carrying MSW to land fill, emissions and leachate of landfill, increasing life span of landfill and reducing land use. From Kumaran et al., the sewerage industry in Malaysia can be technologically advanced by implementing an anaerobic digestion system in the mechanized treatment plants which is a promising source for biogas production from the waste generated in the sewage treatment plants.
Composting wastes creates a product that can be used to help improve soil quality, help to grow the next generation of crops, and improve water quality. A Compost is created by combining organic wastes, such as wasted food, yard trimmings, and manures, in the right ratios into piles, rows, or vessels. Adding bulking agents like wood chips, as necessary to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials; and allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process. Mature compost is created using extreme temperatures to destroy pathogens and weed seeds that natural decomposition does not degrade. Several benefits have been discovered in composting method, and these are eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers, promotes higher yields of agricultural crops, aids in reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by improving contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils, can be used to remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste in a cost effective banner, provides cost savings over conventional soil, water and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable, compost also enhances water retention in soils, and lastly it provides carbon sequestration.
Food waste composting is usually implemented through two different practices, which are the invessel system and the windrow system. The in vessel system consist of covering of food waste in a closed system such as silo, drum, agitated bed, closed or batch container for composting. The windrow system is an open composting system constructed in the form of a triangular pile. The optimum size of this pile is very subjective due to it is constraints of weather condition and physical properties of substrates. Composting of food waste together with solid waste is extensively implemented in India which has more than 70 composting facilities. Every year, there are approximately 4.3 billion tons of compost produced from the food waste which stands at 5.9% of their municipal solid waste in India. “Total Recycling for Kitchen Garbage”.
The amount of commercially produced food waste, on both the large and small scale, needs to be reduced. With nearly fifty percent of this waste being derived from fruit and vegetable origins, recycling this waste into animal feed would drastically reduce the overall amount of waste produced.. Recycling food residuals into animal feed would be practical when applied to large industries, such as grocery stores. These stores produce significant amounts of food waste, most of which is taken away as trash, scraps and inevitably piled into a landfill to produce methane.
Food waste as feedstock for animal feeding is not suitable in developing countries as loading and separation of food waste. In Malaysia, following FEED ACT not all food waste is suitable for use as animal feed for livestock except for the more commonly practiced of harvesting of carcass bone and egg shell. Food waste contribution on animal feed is mostly from bone meal, eggshell, sea shells as they are major mineral sources of calcium, phosphorus, etc.
Efforts in managing food waste in China
Since China is a progressively developing Asian country, the number of urban consumers increases in numbers, an increasing pressure on the account for the outputs of cities, particularly on its food systems. The growing problems China is currently facing is how to manage the sizeable amount of food waste that is coming daily from different households, restaurants, and canteens. It is an important issue to address since an increasingly strained by poor waste management in the country, matched to the already strained waste management system that is struggling to support the growing amount of other wastes that are being created by the city.
According to a statistical survey, from the years 2013 to 2015, China generated 17-18 million tons of food waste each year – enough to feed millions of people. Local sludge treatment plants in several cities of China came up with the idea of producing biogas and fertilizer from waste. However, those plants tend to operate at a loss when feedstock like food scraps is not collected separately at the source. For efficient operations it is suggested that food waste should be separated from other waste streams, so that it would be easier to produce biogas through anaerobic digestion or sludge-to-energy methods. Otherwise when improperly disposed, food waste can pollute water, degrade the soil and increase emissions of greenhouse gases. But with effective techniques of sorting and repurposing, food waste can become a valuable resource that can be used to produce biofuels, chemicals, animal feed and compost.
Low Capability of Disposal vs Increasing Food Waste Production
Aside from technology and financial support, the reason for low disposal capability lies also in the inconsistency between waste amount reported by producers, which is the base of district infrastructure planning, and the actual amount of food waste generated. It is a system that is able to effectively separate food from oil, and includes a measure of processing that protects the pigs from in taking harmful objects such as metals scraps etc., but is also closely linked to the challenges that the State is facing with food safety system. To surpass these challenges, while solving the challenge of how to manage food waste, it will take a comprehensive plan to develop and execute the needed systems and to do this a number of interesting experiments and innovations are now underway.
Sorting: A gateway to reutilizing food waste in China
When kitchens and restaurants throw away their scraps, and food waste along with other city garbage which are then compressed together at processing facilities and then transported to landfills or incinerators via transfer stations. The government has been advocating for sorting waste in different cities in China for almost 20 years, albeit with little progress. In 2000 the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, assigned eight cities comprised of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen as pilots, mandating all the municipalities to implement innovative policies to resolve the urban garbage problems. While in year 2007, the national regulation to streamline the disposal chain for solid waste was implemented, which is done by encouraging individuals and public institutions to separate scraps before dumping them into trash bins. In response to carried out waste sorting measures in residential areas and public buildings, hoping to resolve the triple threat of shrinking landfill space in urban outskirts, increasing amounts of solid waste management and growing public concerns over waste pollution.
Why is sorting waste so difficult in China?
Cities near the China’s east coast usually have more effective sorting systems and a higher waste reutilization than their inland counterparts because of the strong policies and investment plans for both infrastructure and awareness-building, as well as public oversight by communities and nongovernmental organizations are implemented. However, in rural cities, there exist a noncompulsory regulations which have proven less efficiency at inducing behavioral changes towards promoting public participation. In the estimated year by 2014, citizens in different cities undergoes a survey about their understanding or knowledge about the municipal waste. Even though after households and restaurants voluntarily separate food waste from other solid waste such as recyclables and non-recyclables, there is still a good opportunity that scraps will mix somewhere else in the process
Mandatory garbage sorting: a new hope for food waste?
A year ago, the China government choose up to 46 cities for mandatory garbage sorting, with the objective of achieving a minimal recycling rate of at least 35 percent by the target year 2020. According to its classification standards, the food waste must be separated from the other types of waste in order to reach the recycling threshold. All institutions such as, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and office buildings are mandated to follow the rules or face a consequence or a penalty. Another district government offers to pay residents for each ton of classified household garbage, it could be either a monthly lump sum to property managers who then opt to incentivize high-performing households, or a direct award of 0.5 RMB for each disposal.
Mandatory waste sorting rules have forced municipal governments in the different parts of the country to introduce innovative policies and initiatives to resolve their urban garbage problems. If these rules would be implemented help to change and raise public awareness and habits, by introducing clean technology and using food scraps in sustainable or productive ways, it could pave the way for other cities and villages in China to follow.
Food Waste Trends in Thailand
One of the major environmental problems Thailand encountered is due to the fact that the waste generation rate has increased drastically together with the a lack of awareness of local citizens. Local governments who are responsible for the management of solid waste management often lack the capability to solve problems because of financial and personnel constraints. As a solution to the uprising challenge, government authorities of Thailand set a national goal to promote 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) and to increase utilization of organic waste generated from different households. Composting, anaerobic digestion, mechanical-biological treatment, bio digestion, and landfill gas recovery from sanitary landfill are one of the profound solutions in Thailand. But eventually many pilot projects funded by different donors that are implemented by local governments. Lesson learned from these projects would be beneficial for not only other local governments in Thailand but also for other developing countries which have similar local circumstance and socio-economic.
Efforts in Managing Food waste in Thailand
Organic waste Utilization in Thailand
An increase on the innovation of organic waste can significantly help to improve the urban solid waste management, and decreased the environmental impacts from the final disposal sites in Thailand. In addition, depending on the technology implemented, it can help to increase crop productivity, provide alternative energy, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, improve resource efficiency, and generate income. Urban organic waste utilization can contribute to a national policy on creating a recycling society.
Further improvements on the 3R implementation, the Pollution Control Department drafted the National 3R Strategy and the 3R Act to promulgate and provide the 3Rs implementation in Thailand. The 3R Strategy plan claims to enhance the organic waste utilization by 50% before the year 2026 comes. These objectives can greatly give off negative impacts such as climate change mitigation by preventing landfill gas emissions, supply organic fertilizer for cultivation of soil, and can significantly provide sustainable alternative energy.
Efforts in managing Food Waste Trends in Japan
Japan’s concrete measures for food waste
Fertilizer and feed producers, collection and transport companies cooperate to gather and treat tons of generated food waste every year. The waste is then renovated into feed and fertilizer, or gas fuel by methane fermentation process for sustainable power generation.
Law of Recycling and Related Activities for treatment of Cyclical Food Resources (Food Recycling Law)
The Food Recycling Law in Japan calls for the reduction of food waste, and other passing regions to make a reused cycle for feeds and fertilizers, with which a recycling society should be achieve as the years go by.
Recovery of energy and other resources from food waste biomass
In these system the foreign matter is removed from food waste to produce safe feed for animals. while in fusing
Technology to reduce foul odor and dirty water into the treated food waste, composting and methane fermentation facilities are produced. Reduction in disposed food waste leads to a decrease in waste disposal cost and holds down greenhouse gas emissions.
Using energy generated from sewage sludge
The sewage is made up of of 80% organic matter and the remaining 20% is inorganic matter. The remaining seventy percent of inorganic matter is produced as constructional and infrastructural materials. While the Organic matter is recycled as fertilizer, sewage gas and sludge fuel, and the remaining 77% is incinerated or compost. Basically there are two methods of recycling sewage sludge as fuel first sewage gas or methane gas generation and carbonization or carbon fuel.
Food Waste Trends in the Philippines
In the Philippines, waste management continuous to be a great challenge especially in urban areas like Metro Manila. Improper practices for wastes disposal, ineffective wastes collection and lack of disposal facilities are among the dominant concerns in the country’s solid waste management. Unless these problems are addressed, the wastes generated from various sources will continually lead to various health hazards and serious environmental impacts such as ground and surface water contamination, flooding, air pollution and spread of infectious diseases. According to research nstudies, the Philippines’ food waste waste generation continues to rise with the increase in population. Coping up with the problems, improvements of living standards, rapid economic growth, and industrialization especially in the urban areas would be expected to improve.
Efforts in Managing Food Waste in the Philippine
Bio-fertilizer machines help turn household waste into farm inputs
All over Asia, Philippines is best know for its recognitions for achievements in organic farming. The Department of Agriculture is putting up efforts to popularize the use of bio-fertilizers, particularly through composting method as a community activity in every area. To the initiative for composting, the DA’s prepared a financial package of composting facilities for biodegradable wastes and small-scale composting facilities for nationwide distribution. The package is composed of 172 units of CFBWs and SSCFs that would go to qualified local governments, to help raise their knowledge in terms of sorting, collecting and composting their community wastes and to lessen the dependence of the farmers to commercial fertilizers. Commercial fertilizers on the other hand gives off side effects to the food crops and gives off adverse effects to the body. Unlike the implementation of bio fertilizers, it is purely organic and can give an innovative way on how to little by little decrease the increasing amount of food waste collected.
Since many countries are experiencing progressive changes due to high knowledge on various technologies, the challenge is how to cope up with the food security, food safety and sustainable development in agricultural sector of different countries in Asia. But more than one third of the food produced today is put to trash bins or simply wasted, so this kind of amount of food waste generated every year misses the chance to cope up with the opportunity to improve food security. So basically the first solution to food waste problems involves raising proper awareness in consumer’s behavior and massive shifts of industrial procedures and retailers. So in order to meet the challenge of constructing a sustainable food supply and food security, it requires everyone’s involvement along the food supply chain, including government authorities, producers and suppliers, and of course the food consumers cause if these issue won’t be address properly the food waste issue would relatively become high and may become a severe problem in the future. But on the other side, since food waste is biodegradable and recyclable, it is strongly suggested that instead of dumping all the food waste along with other wastes in landfills, it is best to put more focus on developing food waste reduction and recycling program. Governments should avoid a very expensive technology, and focus more on less costly technology or green technology as well as separation at source, and involve residents throughout the entire waste management process to avoid financial budget issues. Since one of the reasons why food waste in some countries are hard to handle it is due to financial budget. Promoting the use of green technology, this issue might not be hard as it is. The current knowledge of every consumer on food waste management, policies and regulation in other countries could be used as preliminary model for Asia in the process of the further enhancement of a successful food waste management system, going from a conventional food waste disposal model to a sustainable food waste management framework.
1 Food Waste in Malaysia: Trends, Current Practices and Key Challenges, Siti Wahidah Abd Ghafar
Centre of Promotion Technology, MARDI, Persiaran MARDI- UPM, 43400 SERDANG, Malaysia. [email protected] Food waste handling in Malaysia and comparison with other Asian countries, 1
Lim, W. J., 1*Chin, N. L., 1 Yusof, A. Y., 2 Yahya, A. and 3Tee, T. P.
3 Consumers’ Awareness and Knowledge about Food Waste in Selangor, Malaysia FATOUMATA JARJUSEY 1?, NORSHAMLIZA CHAMHURI 2
4 SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO MALAYSIAM, N. HASSAN, T. L. CHONG, M. RAHMAN, M. N. SALLEH, Z. ZAKARIA AND M. AWANG
4 ANIMAL FEED AS A SOLUTION TO FOOD WASTE, Samantha Alpert , Chris AstrauckasJoe Bynoe – BCT
5 Reducing food waste in China,
http://www.corporateknights.com/channels/waste/reducing-food-waste-china-15041556/6 Food Waste Management: A MASSIVE Growth Opportunity in China,
7 Bio-fertilizer machines help turn household waste into farm inputs
By: Ronnel W. Domingo – @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:48 AM: March 30, 2016 http://business.inquirer.net/209003/bio-fertilizer-machines-help-turn-household-waste-into-farm-inputs#ixzz5IsMxJUfw