O level Notes : Food Technology Design - Convenience Foods - Waste Management

Waste management is of paramount importance in the food and processing industry. Each time food is prepared left overs are inevitable, be it fresh food scraps or food packages. All these need a careful and systematic way of disposal that will not have a negative effect on the environment.

Household Waste

Household waste consists of food residues, paper, bottles, and cans. It is advisable for every household to sort these materials, take the waste glass to bottle banks and pass on the waste paper to collector's .Local authorities are responsible for the collection and disposal of the household waste that ends up in the dustbin.

Industrial waste

The least harmful waste products from industry may be mixed with household refuse and dumped in the same landfill sites.

Materials used in food packaging are ; glass, metals used for cans, paper boards, plastics, aluminium foils and cling wraps.

Waste management approach

Waste management approach is important to protect the health of humans and to preserve our natural resources there is however need to make use of hierarchical, integrated management approach that includes, source reduction, recycling, composting, combustion and land filling.

  1. Source reduction

This is a way of reducing the amount of waste by changing design, manufacture or the use of original material and product. Source reduction has an impact of reducing solid waste on the environment because it avoids waste generation altogether.

  1. Recycling

Recycling diverts waste from the waste stream to material recovery. Recycling does not entail reprocessing material into new products but it entails collecting, sorting, processing,  manufacturing  and  selling  the  recycled  material  and  products. All packaging material like glass and plastic can be recycled or rather is recyclable.

Advantage of recycling is it provides a sustainable environment.

Disadvantages is it is expensive. It is difficult to separate different materials hence it is not possible in all cases.

  1. Composting

It is a form of biological degradation of organic material like food. It involves arranging organic materials into piles and providing sufficient moisture for aerobic decomposition by micro organisms. Composting is a valuable alternative to waste disposal.

  1. Combustion

This is the controlled burning of waste in a designated facility. It acts as an alternative for waste that cannot be recycled or composted.

  1. Landfilling

It provides environmentally sound disposal of any remaining waste and the residues of recycling and combustion operations .Nowadays land fillings are carefully designed structures in which waste is isolated from the surrounding environment and ground water. The waste is taken to a landfill site such as a disused gravel pit ,tipped in ,left to settle down to a compact mass and then covered with soil. Once the landfill site is full and the rubbish has compacted and been covered the site may be reclaimed for agriculture or recreational use. Organic material such as vegetables and paper are decomposed by bacteria the tip and they produce methane .If pipes are installed in the rubbish the methane can be collected and used as fuel.

Here is what we discussed in this topic

Convenience foods though very convenient have an impact on the environment hence the waste management approach has to be adhered to.