A Mumbai Club Converts 30 Tonnes Of Food Waste Into Bio-Gas

Increase in world population has led to increase in food production with that food wastage and its accumulation. The increase in food waste is causing serious threats to our society like environmental pollution, health risk, and scarcity of dumping land. There is an urgent need to device ways to reduce food waste and its accumulation. Currently, people from all around the world are working on ways to process and manage waste food.

What is food waste? Food waste (FW) (both precooked and leftover) is a biodegradable waste discharged from various sources including food processing industries, households and hospitality sector. Conventionally in India this food waste is either incinerated or dumped in open area which may cause severe health and environmental issues due to the harmful gasses they produce. Therefore, appropriate and environment friendly methods are required for the management of food waste.

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Harmful effects of food waste is known to all, maybe that’s why civilians along with few scientists are working on finding ways to create a zero waste society. Recently, Hindustan Times reported about a Chembur’s Club Emerald located in Swastik Park who along with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has set an example by treating 30,000kg of organic waste over the last two months and converted it into cooking gas.

In March, they jointly set up a bio-gas plant which processed wet waste through bio-methanation, almost around 500kg of food waste which was generated in the club was processed every day. Finally in July they started using the bio-gas that was produced by the plant.

Bio-methanation technology processes kitchen waste, which generates methane gas, through anaerobic digestion. During anaerobic digestion microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen.

 There are various advantages of using the anaerobic digestion. The process costs less and has low residual waste production and utilization of food waste as renewable source of energy

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“Being a bulk generator, there was pressure from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to treat waste at source. After ensuring 100% segregation at source, we decided to adopt biogas technology because we had the space for installing the setup and large quantities of waste could be reduced,” said Nikhil Mehta, executive director of the club said in an interview with Hindustan Times.

The daily waste generated that is generated from the club is converted into 4-6 cubic metres of gas which is used in the club’s kitchen. “We save ₹250 each day on the expenses previously incurred on purchasing cooking gas. The entire project, patented by BARC, was installed at a cost of ₹11 lakh, which we expect to recover over the next four years,” said Mehta.

Jashwant Mehta, chairman of the club, said, “The focus was to reduce the amount of waste going to city dumping grounds. Using the waste judiciously at source was our step towards environment conservation. The residual manure is used to nurture potted plants, a lawn and all other green spaces within the club.”

Dry waste that is generated by the club, is collected by the BMC and is sent for recycling, said an official from the solid waste management department, BMC.“Prior to waste management efforts, our dumper used to go to the club thrice a day but now it goes only once. Bulk generators like Emerald reduces a large amount of transportation cost, and the model can be replicated across various educational institutions and office complexes,” he said.

We hope that hotels, residential areas take a cue from this club and work towards zero waste. Acts like these not only reduces carbon footprint but also reduces risks of diseases and harmful pests and encourages community activity.

Picture Source : DailyNews; Sustainable Table; Hindustan Times

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