Waste Not, Want Not (Wastes Series Book 3)


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1. Introduction

And what happens to those discards? To local markets most of these rejects go, netting Garibaldi just one-third the price of the exports. In the fragrant orchard, which lies in a valley under the parched crenellations of the Cordilleran foothills, Stuart plucks a mandarin unfit for any market but stops short of eating it. Fundo Maria Luisa, it turns out, generates relatively little waste, thanks to its U. Either way, the grower is expected to eat the loss. Most of the rejects will be eaten locally. Globally 46 percent of fruits and vegetables never make it from farm to fork.

We drive miles south, past tall sand dunes and wind-eroded ridges. All is ocher and dust until we reach valleys suddenly verdant with irrigated farmland—a consequence of foreign investment, favorable trade agreements, cheap labor, a warm climate, and a once bountiful aquifer. In the Ica Region, Stuart interviews a farmer who annually abandons in his fields millions of stalks of asparagus too thin or too curved or with bud tips slightly too open to export. Next a producer tells him that he dumps more than a thousand tons of infinitesimally imperfect Minneola tangelos and a hundred tons of grapefruit a year into a sandpit behind his packhouse.

Grade standards—industry driven and voluntary—were devised long ago to provide growers and buyers with a common language for evaluating produce and mediating disputes. They also can help reduce food waste. Stuart applauds some U. In the Picardy region of France a volunteer helps glean 1, pounds of potatoes too small to harvest mechanically. Feedback has helped organize more than 30 of these public feasts around the world to raise awareness of food waste and inspire local solutions.

For seven days Stuart traipses around farms and packhouses, runs through his questions, gathers data, and samples rejects. Between visits he folds himself like a fruit bat into the backseat of a crowded car and types. Tap, tap. An appointment with a food rescuer who just flew up from Santiago, Chile. Everywhere he goes, it seems, people want to tell Stuart an egregious story about food waste. In fume-choked traffic he arranges to meet with a Peruvian congressman trying to overturn tax laws that incentivize dumping excess food over donating it.

As we careen down a serpentine road, he taps out revisions to a proposed food-waste-reduction bill in the U. Parliament and a letter in support of expanding the authority of the U. Developed countries are responsible for most of the food left uneaten on grocery-store shelves, on restaurant plates, and in home refrigerators. Here are some tips to reduce your waste footprint.

Diners who use trays waste 32 percent more than those who carry their plates in their hands. Small changes in the kitchen can reduce the amount of food your household throws out. The standard plate is 36 percent larger than it was 50 years ago. Freeze or can extras. Blend bruised fruit into smoothies. Businesses, schools, nonprofits, and governments can all find ways to dump less food. The possibility spurs a series of calls to his newest friends. Raising awareness and building community. This squishy stuff works.

While gleaning, dicing, and dining, chefs from Lima to London have connected with charities hungry for their excess; California entrepreneurs have hatched schemes to rescue wonky-looking fruit from burial; civil society groups have fomented plans for a Kenyan food-rescue network; a Belgian brewer has been emboldened to convert stale bread into salable beer.

A disco soup in Lima seems harebrained, given that Stuart is five hours from the city, has a looming appointment at a Colombian banana plantation, controls neither a dining room nor a kitchen, and has no budget and no food. But history suggests he will probably succeed. Stuart, now 38, was born in London, the last of three boys. Simon Stuart was a talented teacher of English and an outstanding naturalist. One did birds, another did dragonflies, and I did mushrooms. I know what wild mushrooms look like, and these are from a shop.

Portions in U. His father tended a large vegetable garden, and Stuart added pigs and chickens to the mix. In exchange for manure, Simon gave Tristram his vegetable trimmings. The larder was almost complete. Stuart had begun selling pork and eggs to the parents of his schoolmates, but he quickly realized that buying animal feed would bankrupt him. He started a swill route: collecting misfit potatoes and stale cakes from local shops and his school kitchen.

Without materials, there might be no food and shelter technology; without energy, there might be no work, thus, no economic activity. The reliable sustainable resource is important to fulfill the need of energy.

Oil palm waste is a reliable resource because of its availability, continuity and capacity for renewable energy solution. Furthermore, in current situation the presence of oil palm wastes has created a major disposal problem, thus, affect the environmental. The technological, economic, energy balance, and environmental considerations must be kept at a balance to meet the best solution of utilization oil palm wastes. Palm fronds and stems are currently underutilised, and the presence of these oil palm wastes has created a major disposal problem.

Therefore, maximising energy recovery from the wastes is desirable for both the environmental and economic reasons. Direct combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, liquefaction, fermentation and anaerobic digestion are alternate conversion technologies available to maximise energy recovery.

Therefore, sustainable development can be promoted by encouraging energy projects for the long term, utilising local skills and creating employment. Traditionally the oil palm Elaeis guineensis was grown in semi-wild groves in tropical Africa. It was first introduced to Malaysia for planting in the Botanical Gardens in Singapore in [ 7 ].

Germination takes around 3 months, after which the seedlings are planted in small plastic bags where they are left in a so-called pre-nursery for several months. They are transplanted into bigger plastic bags and grow in a nursery for several more months to a size of about 1 meter, before they are transplanted into a field at an age of around 1 year.

The new improved crosses begin to flower after less than one year of transplantation and produce their first bunches of fruit after less than 2 years. At this age, their leaves have a size of over 2 meters in height and diameter. During its young age, the trunk grows at a rate of about 35 to 75 cm per year and produces alternate rows of leaves, depending on its gene [ 8 ]. The base of the old leaves surround the stem and begin falling off at the age of 12 to 15 years [ 9 ].


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By this time, growth and production have slowed down. The number of leaves in an oil palm plant increase from 30 to 40 in a year at the age of 5 to 6 years. After that, the generation of leaves decreases to about 20 to 25 per year [ 9 ]. The average economic life-span of the oil palm is 25 years to 30 years [ 10 ]. A marked increase in the cultivation of oil palm began in [ 11 ], for which by the year onwards there was a peak in replanting. This provided a good opportunity to harness the by-products of the oil palm. During the re-plantation, the heights of the oil palm tree are in the range of 7 m to 13 m, with a width of between 45 cm to 65 cm, measuring 1.

There are about 41 leaves in each frond of the mature oil palm tree. It is estimated that in the year , the process of re-plantation would generate about 8. To leave the old trunk for natural decomposition not only obstructs the re-plantation process but harbours insects that would harm the new trees as well. The tree trunk usually takes between five to six years to decompose [ 12 ]. Most crude palm oil mills harness the energy from the fibre and shell in their own low pressure boilers and normally, the EFB's are burnt causing air pollution or returned to the plantation.

A 60 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches FFB per hour mill based within a 10, hectare plantation, can generate enough energy to be self sustaining and supply surplus electricity to the grid if it utilises all of its wastes. In order to provide a better understanding of the palm oil industry in Malaysia, the following sections give an overview of the oil palm industry in Malaysia including oil palm plantation and the mass balance of the oil palm industry as it is self-sufficient in energy. The first commercial oil palm estate in Malaysia was set up in at Tennamaran estate, Selangor. Palm oil is one of the seventeen major oils and fats in the world market.

The government encouraged crop diversification from rubber to oil palm in the late s. The area utilised for oil palm plantations in Malaysia has increased to 3. The oil palm fruit produces two distinct oils which are palm oil and palm kernel oil. Palm oil is obtained from the mesocarp while palm kernel oil is obtained from the seed or kernel.

Palm oil is used mainly for the production of margarine and compounds in cooking fats and oils and also for the production of candles, detergents, soap and cosmetic products. The success of the Malaysian palm oil industry is the result of the ideal climatic conditions, efficient milling and refining technologies and facilities, research and development, and efficient and adequate management skills.

Practically all palm oil mills generate their own heat and power through the co-generation system [ 13 ]. The Malaysian government is fully committed to the expansion of the industry and encourages global expansion of palm oil production. Palm oil is now readily accepted globally and Malaysia has exported palm oil to more than countries in the world. Most palm oil is currently produced in South East Asia, even though the oil palm is originally an African crop, which was introduced to South East Asia in the 19th century.

In Malaysian production exceeded Indonesian production. However, the US Department of Agriculture notes that mature palm area in Indonesia is being expanded from 5 to 8 million hectares, which should easily overtake Malaysia in the near future [ 15 ]. There are plans for expansion of palm area in South America [ 16 ] and Africa [ 17 ], both of which in principle offer large tracts of suitable tropical land. Compared to the potential expansion, however, these plans are embryonic and current production is low and largely for domestic consumption.

Palm oil and related products represented the second largest export of Malaysia in the first nine months of , after electronics, but just ahead of crude oil [ 18 ]. In , Malaysian palm oil production is projected to reach approximately 15 million tonnes , barrels per day , which is very close to the actual value of By comparison, Malaysian petroleum production in is estimated at 43 million tonnes , barrels per day , of which 16 million tonnes , barrels per day were exported.

The total oil palm planted area in Malaysia increased by 2. The area expansion occurred mainly in Sabah and Sarawak with a combined growth of 4. Sabah remained the largest oil palm planted state with 1. Table 2. Oil Palm Planted Area - Hectares [ 22 , 23 ]. The production of crude palm oil increased by a further 6. Figure 2.

The decrease in OER in the years to which is significant is due to the global recession accounting for a lower demand of export market. However, despite a weak global economy, there is a significant recovery in as the government implemented prudent policies to assist the Malaysian oil palm industry. These include the expansion of oil palm in matured areas and the campaign on improved productivity in the oil palm industry, coupled with providing competitive prices of oil palm, liberalization of export duties and the encouragement of counter-trades for higher exports [ 24 ].

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Crude palm kernel oil production rose by 6. The rapid expansion of oil palm cultivation has raised concerns about the sustainability and environmental impact of oil palm plantations, in particular with regard to biodiversity, destruction of old growth rainforest and air pollution [ 25 , 26 ]. To illustrate the potential impact, it is worthy to reflect on the fact that with a palm oil yield of 4 tonnes per hectare tropical forest of roughly the size of the United States would be required to satisfy current world crude oil demand.

Increased yields are one avenue for reducing the area imprint for oil palm plantations. It is estimated, based on fundamental factors and actual yields achieved on experimental plots that yields as high as approximately 10 tonnes per hectare may eventually be achievable [ 27 ]. The palm oil mill is self-sufficient in energy, using waste fibre and shell as fuel to generate steam in waste-fuel boilers for processing, and power-generation with steam turbines.

In the standard milling process, used in the factories with a milling capacity of over 10 tonnes of raw material per hour, water is added into a digester [ 29 ]. More than Part of the steam is used to generate kW of electricity and the rest is used as process steam. It is estimated that the total generating capacity of the mills is about MW [ 28 ].

Typically palm oil mills use fibre and shell as a boiler fuel to produce process steam for sterilisation, etc and also possibly for electricity generation to supply electricity for other parts of the mill complex. These oil palm wastes make oil palm mills self sustainable in energy. The shell and fibre alone can supply more than enough energy to meet the mill's requirements using low pressure relatively inefficient boilers. The EFB have traditionally been burnt in simple incinerators, as a means of disposal and the ash recycled onto the plantation as fertiliser.

However, this process causes air pollution and has now been banned in Malaysia, furthermore, under this route of disposal, no energy is recovered. Alternatively EFB can be composted and returned to the plantation, or returned directly as mulch. Referring to Figure 2. After this process, the stripping process will take over. In the stripping process, a rotating divesting machine is used to separate the sterilized oil palm fruit from the sterilized bunch stalks. The empty fruit bunches EFB will fall in the collector and are brought to the burning place as a fuel.

Almost half of the world's food thrown away, report finds | Environment | The Guardian

This is performed in steam-heated vessels with stirring arms, known as digesters or kettles. The most usual method of extracting oil from the digested palm fruit is by pressing. The type of press used in this palm oil is the screw type press. The crude oil extracted from the digested palm fruit by pressing contains varying amounts of water, together with impurities consisting of vegetable matter, some of which is dissolved in the water. Centrifugal and vacuum driers are used to further purify the oil before pumping it into a storage tank.

When the digested fruit is pressed to extract the oil, a cake made up of nuts and fibre is produced. The composition of this cake varies considerably, being dependent on the type of fruit. When the fibre has been separated from the nuts, the latter can then be prepared for cracking. Any uncracked nuts must be removed and recycled and the shell separated from the kernels. The waste fibre and shell are also transported to the burning place as a fuel.

The kernels are packed and sold to kernel oil mills. Palm oil mills in Malaysia typically meet most of their electricity and process steam requirements by burning some of the wastes, with energy for start-up generally being provided by back-up diesel [ 13 , 28 , 30 ]. Not all of the wastes are burnt.

For each kg of palm oil, electricity consumption is around 0. This represents a steam to electricity ratio of around 20 to 1 and could be met by burning 0.

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Little effort was made in the past to optimise process steam consumption or boiler or turbine efficiency, as the fuel was substantially treated as a waste that was incinerated to be disposed of. The electricity co-generated in Malaysian palm oil mills therefore only amounts to roughly To illustrate the kinds of waste available, the process flow of a palm oil mill is summarised in Figure 2.

Most of this water ends up in POME. As can be seen in Table 2. Consequently, it is a poor fuel without drying and presents considerable emissions problem that its burning is discouraged by the Malaysian government. Palm oil mills therefore typically use shell and the drier part of the fibre product stream, rather than EFB, to fuel their boilers [ 31 ]. For each kg of palm oil, roughly a kg of wet EFB is produced. Typical product stream distribution in oil palm mills [ 30 ].

As mentioned before, most crude palm oil mills harness the energy from the fibre and shell in steam boilers. However, the introduction of advanced cogeneration combined heat and power also can play a role in combatting climate change, as well as introducing significant economic benefits. Through cogeneration, the costs of energy will be cut because it uses fuels at high conversion efficiencies can reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. However, it is only worth doing if one can sell the additional surplus energy electricity to customers at an economical rate.

Today, the ability to sell electricity into the local grid provides an opportunity to turn waste into a valuable commodity. The total land area in Malaysia amounts to The next step is to integrate waste generation data with production data. Coupling the waste flow data for lead presented above with the data on lead production and consumption presented in Table 1 yields the lead flow diagram shown in Figure 7.

Lead is used at a rate of roughly 1.

see url Most is consumed in the production of lead storage batteries and these batteries are eventually retired. Roughly 90 percent of these used batteries are recycled, so the net loss of lead through battery disposal is about , tons. Other sources of lead in MSW total roughly 70, tons per year. Industrial hazardous wastes are another Sink for lead. Of the , tons of lead in hazardous wastes, roughly 53, tons are sent to disposal.

The remainder is recycled, but the recycling of both hazardous and battery wastes generates roughly , tons of lead waste. Comparing the total flow of lead with the amount of lead. Amount, a metric tons. Amount, b metric tons. If this efficiency is to be improved, then the streams that are currently reaching disposal must find productive use. Overall recycling efficiency could be improved by increasing the collection of lead batteries above 90 percent, by improving the efficiency of secondary lead smelting, and by targeting for recycling industrial waste streams from nonbattery operations.

Figure 8 compares some of the waste streams currently requiring disposal with those currently being recycled. Examination of Figure 8 reveals that more concentrated waste streams are more likely to be recycled than waste streams with low lead concentration. Although the decision whether or not to reclaim a metal from a waste stream is complex, it is in essence an economic question. Accordingly, it depends not only on the value of the recycled material, but to a significant extent on concentration.

As in the case of lead, the concentration at which recycling of other materials in the waste stream becomes cost-effective depends on the value of the raw material see Figure 9. The Sherwood diagram Figure 1 showed that whereas materials such as gold and radium can be recovered from raw materials that are quite dilute in the resource, materials such as copper can be recovered economically only from relatively rich ores.

Given the price, it is therefore possible to estimate the concentration at which materials can be recovered. By comparing metal prices, minimum economically recoverable concentration from the Sherwood diagram , and data on the concentration distributions of metals in waste streams Figure 9 , it is possible to estimate what fraction of metals in hazardous waste streams can be recycled. These estimates are reported in Table 2 and indicate that metals in hazardous wastes are underutilized.

This could be because only waste streams with very high metal concentrations are recovered or because only a small fraction of potential recyclers at all feasible concentration levels recover metals. Figure 10 is an attempt to differentiate between these two cases. To develop Figure 10 , the concentration distribution of metals in recycled waste streams was examined. The concentration below which only 10 percent of the metal recycling took place was assumed to be a lower bound for economic metal recovery from the waste. This concentration was then plotted, together with the metal price recall that the waste data are from to generate Figure Also plotted on Figure 10 is the Sherwood diagram for virgin materials.

Comparison of the Sherwood plot for virgin materials and the waste concentration data. Concentration distributions of lead in waste streams undergoing recycling and concentration distributions of lead in all industrial hazardous waste streams The concentration below which only 10 percent of recycling takes place is noted. The concentration of resources in recycled wastes is generally higher than for virgin materials, indicating significant disincentives to make use of waste.

Figures 9 and 10 demonstrate that there are many opportunities for increased recycling. Compositions and sources of recycled waste streams can be examined and opportunities for improving recycling efficiencies can be explored. Unfortunately, these analyses rely extensively on a single data base of industrial waste, the National Hazardous Waste Survey. This collection of data, which is the only comprehensive and detailed source of information on the composition of industrial hazardous waste streams, was based on wastes generated during and is already somewhat outdated.

The data are also restricted to wastes classified as hazardous under the provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The lack of current, comprehensive, and reliable data on waste composition remains a serious barrier to studies in industrial ecology. Concentration distribution of recycled metals and the concentration distributions of metals in all industrial hazardous waste streams data. The concentration below which only 10 percent of recycling takes place is noted for each metal. The Sherwood plot for waste streams. The minimum concentration of metal wastes undergoing recycling see Figures 8 and 9 is plotted against metal price.

The Sherwood plot for virgin materials is provided by comparison.

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Points lying above the Sherwood plot indicate that the metals in the waste streams are underused, that is, waste streams undergoing disposal are richer than typical virgin materials. Points lying below the Sherwood plot indicate that the waste streams are vigorously recycled. The results reveal that the concentrations of metal resources in many waste streams that are currently undergoing disposal are higher than for typical virgin resources.

Thus, extensive waste trading could significantly reduce the quantity of waste requiring disposal. Allen, D. Jain, eds. Special issue on industrial waste generation and management. Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials 9 1 Eisenhauer, J. Industrial waste databases: A simple roadmap. Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials 9 1 : National Research Council. Separation and Purification: Critical Needs and Opportunities. Washington, D.

Department of the Interior. Minerals Yearbook: , Metals and Minerals, Volume 1.

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