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Potentials for food waste minimization and effects on potential biogas production through anaerobic digestion.

  • Anna Bernstad
  • Sanita Vukicevic
  • Irene Bohn
  • Tova Andersson
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 811-819
Publication/Series: Waste Management & Research
Volume: 31
Issue: 8
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: SAGE Publications


Several treatment alternatives for food waste can result in both energy and nutrient recovery, and thereby potential environmental benefits. However, according to the European Union waste management hierarchy, waste prevention should be the prioritized strategy to decrease the environmental burdens from all solid waste management. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate the potential for food waste minimization among Swedish households through an investigation of the amount of avoidable food waste currently disposed of. A further aim was to investigate the effect on the national biogas production potential through anaerobic digestion of food waste, considering minimization potentials. A method for waste composition analyses of household food waste, where a differentiation between avoidable and unavoidable food waste is made, was used in a total of 24 waste composition analyses of household waste from Swedish residential areas. The total household food waste generation reached 3.4 kg (household and week)(-1), on average, of which 34% is avoidable. The theoretical methane (CH4) potential in unavoidable food waste reached 442 Ndm(3) (kg VS)(-1) or 128 Nm(3) tonne(-1) wet waste, while the measured (mesophilic CH4 batch tests) CH4 production reached 399 Ndm(3) (kg VS)(-1), which is lower than several previous assessments of CH4 production from household food waste. According to this study the combination of a decrease in food waste generation-in case of successful minimization-and decreased CH4 production from unavoidable food waste will thus result in lower total potential energy recovery from household food waste through anaerobic digestion CH4 potential than previously stated.


  • Chemical Engineering


  • ISSN: 1096-3669