Currently, a large percentage of food waste ends up in landfills or in incinerators to produce energy. In landfills food decomposes and creates greenhouse gases (a leading cause of climate change). Incineration of food on the other hand is associated with acid rain and eutrophication.
Of course, ideally there would be little to no food waste. In reality however, 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food is wasted every year.
A recent study found that fermenting food waste might be a key solution in reducing methane and carbon dioxide emissions which would otherwise be released.
On top of that, fermented food waste can boost bacteria that help crops grow faster and better, and makes them more resistant to pathogens.
In this study, fermented beer mash (a by-product of beer production) and mixed food waste from a grocery store were fermented and added to the irrigation system of citrus plants in a greenhouse. They measured the population of beneficial bacteria which grew two to three times compared to those in plants which did not receive the fermented liquid.
The bacteria also helped improve the carbon to nitrogen ratio in the soil, which helps optimize production.
Finally, no pathogenic bacteria were found in the soil, indicating that there would be no danger to the food crops or their eventual consumption.
Food waste does not have to be as destructive for the environment as it is now. Even though resources such as water and energy are wasted when food is not eaten but discarded, fermented food waste can still become useful to farmers when growing new food.
Read more here.
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