food production and climate change

How Food Waste Helps Countries Meet Their Climate Goals

More and more countries around the world are pursuing ambitious climate goals, from setting net-zero emissions target years to implementing strict carbon-emission limits for high-emitting industries. For example, the Canadian government has stated their commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, as has the United States.


In pursuit of these goals, both Canada and the US have enacted legislation that requires businesses and other organizations across many sectors to reduce emissions. This kind of legislation leads to an important question: how can these organizations go about reducing their emissions in order to comply?


In this article, we’ll look at one emissions-reducing technology, aerobic digesters, in order to understand how food waste solutions can help countries reach their climate goals.


Global Climate Legislation: The Rush to Net-Zero

As climate change continues to worsen, governments around the world have implemented legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their country. Many of these new regulations target businesses and other large organizations, requiring them to cut down on emissions or offset their emissions by investing in green projects.


For example, the Government of Canada is drafting a regulatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector which seeks to reduce the impacts of Canada’s largest emitters. This is just one of the country’s many carbon emissions reduction measures that are being implemented as part of Canada’s larger policy and investment approach to climate change. Other measures include carbon pricing, regulations on methane emissions, clean fuel regulations, and a tax credit for investments in carbon capture technologies.


In order to comply with these kinds of climate legislation, organizations around the world must find creative ways to cut down on their emissions – while continuing to provide the goods and services many people depend on. One of these ways is by finding low-emission methods to deal with food waste.


How Does Food Waste Contribute to Climate Change?

Municipal food waste is the third-largest source of human-caused methane emissions in the U.S., making up around 14.1% of those emissions. Methane, a greenhouse gas, is around 25 times more potent (better at trapping heat) than carbon dioxide.


So how does food waste contribute to climate change? When food or any other organic waste is put in landfills, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live without oxygen) break down the waste, which leads to the release of methane and other gasses. Methane is then released into the atmosphere, where it traps heat, contributing to global warming. It’s estimated that methane is responsible for around 30% of global warming that has occurred since pre-industrial times.


Clearly, reducing methane emissions is a priority in fighting climate change. In fact, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry recently tweeted, “Methane reductions are the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming in the near term and keep a 1.5 C future within reach.” Here at Syker Systems, we agree – which is why we’ve created aerobic digester machines that help divert methane-emitting food from landfills.

Read more: The Big Problem with Food Waste


How Aerobic Digesters Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Aerobic digesters are machines that break down food waste through aerobic digestion, a process that decomposes food without environmental impacts. During aerobic digestion, microbes break down organic material like food waste without releasing methane, leaving only gray water that can be discharged to municipal sewage systems. This process only takes around 24 hours to break down hundreds of pounds of food waste.

tomatoes and food waste

By diverting food from landfills, aerobic digesters reduce methane emissions – and thus reduce one of the major causes of climate change. As organizations look for new methods to meet regulatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, we can expect more and more of them to begin installing aerobic digesters to support their reduction goals.


Not only do our Syker System aerobic digesters divert emissions, but they do so in a measurable way. Each machine is outfitted with internal data analytics technology to help you monitor how much food has been diverted from landfills, and how much methane you avoided releasing. This will be a crucial tool in helping organizations accurately report their efforts to lower their environmental footprint, particularly when it comes to demonstrating regulatory compliance with emissions caps and other climate legislation.


Ultimately, food waste management will be a crucial part of combating climate change – and we expect aerobic digesters to play an important role in the fight.

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