Among the three basic elements of human life, food is an indispensable component that provides the nutrients needed to maintain life and work. In the past, when food was scarce, food waste was only what could not be eaten, but in modern times, with food usage going beyond solving hunger, more food is being thrown away due to concerns about taste, obesity and so on. In the future, there may come a time when we do not know what food waste is because we are going to be able to satisfy all the nutrients we need in our daily diet with pills or concentrated foods such as space food (can we give up this pleasure because it is one of the human needs?), but increasing food waste with population growth is an urgent matter to be solved to maintain our lives in a healthy and pleasant environment.
Food waste, which accounts for 29% of household waste, refers to garbage generated from the production, distribution, processing, cooking, storage and consumption of food materials and leftovers. Of the food waste produced, 30% is from leftover food and 57% is from the distribution and cooking processes. The amount of garbage generated in Korea is continuously increasing. According to the 5th National Waste Statistical Survey by the Ministry of Environment, 368g of food and logistics waste was produced separately by one person a day. The amount of food waste thrown away by a family of four in Korea is gathered and one seventh of all food products are just thrown away each year.
With so much food waste being thrown away, how have so many creatures, including humanity, lived on Earth for so long? It is because there are microbes such as fungi, yeast and germs that are tiny creatures that are invisible to the eye. Most types of microorganisms have the ability to break down organic matter and return it to the earth in the form of stabilized elements. These become food for plants, which in turn provide food for animals. Without such microorganisms, the earth would accumulate dead animals, leaves, and other undecayed matter, which long ago would have eliminated life on the earth.
Food waste has a huge impact on society, including environmental problems that threaten the ecosystem, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and the resulting food poisoning caused by the contamination of food materials. Economic damage and increased health care costs amount to more than 800 billion won per year. Therefore, intelligent treatment of food waste is needed.
The younger generation may not know these days, but the students from the hump may have experience, in the past, the food we ate and left over was not abandoned, but used as a home-grown dog meal, as a cow's relic. The fact that animals eat everything they see is enough to know that wild animals search for garbage cans in the national park, and that seagulls eat shrimp crackers at the beach. They are also used as fertilizer for vegetables grown in the garden. Food waste contains a large amount of nutrients, so recycling it into animal feed or fertilizer for crops is very important in terms of environmental and resource protection.
Of the food and logistics waste released in Korea, 93.6% will be recycled. A total of 42.7% will be sent to feedstock facilities, while 28.8% will be sent to composting facilities. Since 2005, when direct dumping of household food waste was banned, the company has been recycling it into feed and fertilizer. Food waste with a high organic content is a good source of fertilizer. A change in the environment will result in more fresh agricultural products grown from natural fertilizer than chemical fertilizers, by the preference of society preferring natural compounds over chemical compounds.
Above all, reducing food waste is the top priority, but this cannot be achieved in a short period of time. The next best option is recycling surplus resources. Considering the environment, fertilization of highly utilized food waste is an indispensable option in this regard, regardless of economic feasibility and to pass on our land to future generations.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >