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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle of "FOOD WASTE"

Food loss campaign aimed at reducing the wastage footprint and convert the wastage to wealth by making business.

Photo of Dr. Sukumar Kar

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Food waste can occur due to various reasons which can occur at various stages of food production. Reducing these wastes can significantly affect the economy of countries especially developing ones. This can bring down the prices of food, reduce the environmental impact and decrease the losses on food processing.

Reduce waste by using Biodegradable Packaging:

We all purchase our food items at the local market or a grocery store. But most of the time we do not carry a bag to bring back the food items in. At those scenarios, if a biodegradable bag is used instead of a regular plastic bag, it can reduce the amount of waste formed significantly. Consumers can be encouraged to always carry a jute bag to put their items in when they go to the market. This further reduces the amount of wastage caused due to packaging, also it provides a reasonable boost to the local jute textiles.

Reusing Leftover Organic Waste:

We throw out a lot of leftovers from our food items which are inedible but can be reused in the form of compost. Families can be encouraged to form compost pits in their backyards in which the organic food wastes can be put which would provide excellent fertilizer for plants in  their gardens over time.

Recycling Organic waste from markets:

If noticed carefully, it can be seen that a lot of waste from crops are produced from the local markets. Inedible parts of the plants are thrown away as they are of no use to the sellers or buyers. Also vegetables which have gone bad are of no use to anyone. They are all disposed off which leads to an increase of waste. This organic waste, if treated properly can become a source of sustainable energy source for the market. They can generate their own power through the organic waste they are left with. Many possible options include a bio-gas plant, right next to the market place. This can help the local community in keeping the roads and surrounding clean, as well as providing a sustainable and renewable source of energy. This ensures the 100% utilization of the products, not a part of the food crops are left to go to waste. Recycling in this manner leads to “Zero-Waste” production. Even the organic waste left from the Biogas plant can be used as fodder for the local cattle, which again ensures more income for the local community as well as keeping the market place clean.

Reducing waste by changing the menu:

Most of the household food waste is caused when we buy in excess quantity or buy perishable items which we won’t be able to consume by the time they go bad. Making a plan can help reduce this waste significantly.

  • Buy non-perishables in bulk. That way it reduces the carrying and packaging waste.
  • Buy only as much as you need. This way you can be sure you are always consuming the freshest of ingredients.
  • Try local grown food items. This helps the local farmers as well as guarantees the freshness of the products.
  • Cook recipes that ensure the full use of the food products. You can cook items that uses the whole food instead just a part of it. Also this ensures that the food is nutritious.

How readily can these ideas be applied?

These ideas are all based of on scientific research and have been used and experimented on before. These ideas are community based and have been proved to give results. The solutions are economic, sustainable and beneficial to the community as well. It ensures more employment in management of these biogas plants, encourages to reduce the waste and teach about smarter and healthier living.

How much infrastructure is required for these prototypes?

Not much. Most of the space required can be found in the market places and backyards. Little or no external power and management is required, the local community themselves can manage and administer the plants.

How beneficial are these ideas?

These ideas ensure zero waste. All parts of crops are used up, thus ensuring a cleaner locality. The power generated is self-sustaining, hence it is more economic. They employ local people to operate and manage thus allowing place for more employment.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

A simple biogas digester can be setup at a local market place to extract biogas from the leftover organic wastes from the market. Most of the apparatus is readily available and the plant is easy to build and low on maintenance.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I would like to seek the expertise of people who have undertaken such community-driven projects and take design suggestions for the biogas plant.

Tell us about your work experience:

We are already in process with a proper design with a view to make a fit of entrepreneurship program in several small pockets for the youth who are achieve the Love Food mission. We are making mass campaigning involving the local people, stake holders. We are trying to establish motivational film to make a campaign in a larger scale in the society regarding the Food Wastage and clean the environment and do the business from waste to wealth.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

How far along is your idea?

  • It’s launched and we’re working on gathering more feedback – it’s existed for over 6 months


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dr. Sukumar Kar

Organic waste:
Organic material (green waste) including, fruit, vegetable scraps and most other food waste (except meat and bones). grass clippings, leaves, flowers and weeds.
These materials can be processed into high quality compost products for use in home gardens, and public open spaces such as sporting fields and park garden beds, which improves the social amenities of local communities. Other quality composted products can be used to improve soil fertility and reduce the environmental harm associated with chemical fertiliser and pesticide usage in vegetable, fruit and wine production.

Photo of William

Very interesting ideas that should be put to test across the globe/adapt as feasible as possible.. Thanks Dr Sukumar for the piece. Composite manure from bio-degradable waste is vital in organic farming particularly in areas where economies are developing from subsistence to commercial production. This is my current dream project for the urban and rural poor in Uganda. The biggest challenge however, for the urban poor is land. They live in makeshift structures which are rented, despite the conditions in very congested environments /slums... You can not manage. For the rural poor, they have the land but it takes a while to transform their practices as all that is generated as waste is either scattered at the back of the courtyard or neglected.. not the best way though. Here biogas would as well be an option. Managing waste sustainable is one best strategy to answer some of the welfare based SDGs... particularly those that directly affect women and children

Could I request any body on the platform who has developed an idea for waste management at the slum level to share the strategy.. Think about a slum of about 20,000 people with no/minimum social amenities so to say... Thanks so much, Dr. William Kibaalya

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