Food waste as a valuable resource for the production of chemicals, materials and fuels. Current situation and global perspective
Increasing demand for fuels and chemicals, driven by factors including over-population, the threat of global warming and the scarcity of fossil resources, strains our resource system and necessitates the development of sustainable and innovative strategies for the chemical industry. Our society is currently experiencing constraints imposed by our resource system, which drives industry to increase its overall efficiency by improving existing processes or finding new uses for waste. Food supply chain waste emerged as a resource with a significant potential to be employed as a raw material for the production of fuels and chemicals given the abundant volumes globally generated, its contained diversity of functionalised chemical components and the opportunity to be utilised for higher value applications. The present manuscript is aimed to provide a general overview of the current and most innovative uses of food supply chain waste, providing a range of worldwide case-studies from around the globe. These studies will focus on examples illustrating the use of citrus peel, waste cooking oil and cashew shell nut liquid in countries such as China, the UK, Tanzania, Spain, Greece or Morocco. This work emphasises 2nd generation food waste valorisation and re-use strategies for the production of higher value and marketable products rather than conventional food waste processing (incineration for energy recovery, feed or composting) while highlighting issues linked to the use of food waste as a sustainable raw material. The influence of food regulations on food supply chain waste valorisation will also be addressed as well as our society's behavior towards food supply chain waste. “There was no ways of dealing with it that have not been known for thousands of years. These ways are essentially four: dumping it, burning it, converting it into something that can be used again, and minimizing the volume of material goods – future garbage – that is produced in the first place.” William Rathje on waste (1945–2012) – Director of the Tucson Garbage project.