Welcome to #CircularTuesday on CleanbuildVoices!
Every day, people generate food waste which ends up in landfills and dumpsites and leads to pollution – having adverse effects on our health and the ecosystem.
Bio-waste contributes to a substantial amount of waste that is generated globally, despite the potentials it has to solve the increasing demand for food, water, and energy as a result of the world’s increasing population.
These environmental and socio-economic potentials along with the benefits of applying a circular approach to bio-waste are gaining global recognition.
In this edition of #CircularTuesday, we will consider what bioeconomy is and how bio-waste contributes to a circular bioeconomy.
A circular bioeconomy is an economy powered by nature. It focuses on the production and use of natural and/or biological resources based on knowledge of their components in combination with biological processes that enable the production and supply of goods and services in an eco-friendly manner.
Because bio-waste contains nutrients, water, carbon, and other useful materials, it forms a resource for fertilizer, biogas, organic soil improvers, and growing media, unlike regular waste that could just end up landfilled or incinerated.
In addition to that, bio-waste also forms byproducts capable of replacing fossil-based products and serving as a source of renewable energy. What’s more, the residues of these products – compost and digestate products – can flow back safely into the biosphere, thereby closing biological cycles and improving soil quality and health.
That way, bio-waste contributes to climate change mitigation via fossil fuel replacement, trapping of carbon in the soil, and reduced landfill gas emissions.
This can help to reduce the pressure on available resources and boost food security and energy. It can also reduce risks from diseases and degradation of the environment due to poor waste management.
Beyond its environmental benefits, bio-waste has financial benefits as it can provide incentives for investments into waste management services and increase farmers’ income as well. This is especially good for the bio-economy.
Furthermore, considering the potential that the expansion of bio-waste management has, there will be new jobs especially in areas of high unemployment where bio-waste treatment capacity is little but shows significant prospects.
Since bio-waste cuts emissions, improves soils, and provides energy, governments should revise waste legislation to include circular economy strategies and drive the sustainable management of bio-waste.
Also, funds should be injected into biorefineries, composting and anaerobic digestion infrastructure, and other technologies to enable the procession of food waste and production of energy and other essential bio-based products like bioplastics, biochemical, etc.
Harnessing the opportunities that bio-waste offers will not only result in a viable circular bioeconomy, but ultimately ensure sustainable bio-waste management, increased environmental quality by means of climate change mitigation, improved health, food security, reduced eutrophication in aquatic ecosystems, and promote economic prosperity.
Watch this space as we’ll be back for another edition of #CircularTuesday next week.