During the Lunar New Year, families in Taiwan usually get together and prepare abundant food to eat together. The EPA urged all to practice "green eating" during the festival, starting from food waste reduction at the source. That means eating at home or dining out, and people should cook or order food based on how much they would eat. This will be good for both the environment and human health. Now policies are underway to use food waste to generate electricity, five local governments, including Taichung City, are operating, constructing, or planning for such food waste Reutilization facilities.
To keep up with the global trend on turning organic waste into bioenergy and diversify reuse channels for food waste, the EPA has been promoting food waste recycling through composting or using it as swine feed after being cooked at high temperatures. A plan to use food waste to generate electricity in bioenergy plants is also underway. To date, there are five local governments, including Taichung City, that are operating, constructing, or planning for such electricity-generating facilities. The total treatment capacity is estimated to be 230,000 metric tons of food waste, generating 41.97 million kWh of electricity, bringing in NT$214.79 million/year from selling the electricity and cutting carbon emission by 22,000 metric tons/year. Specifically, Taichung City has been officially operating its bioenergy plant using food waste since 9 July 2019, Taoyuan City has signed contracts on 22 October 2018 and is expected to complete the construction of a plant in July 2021, and Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Kaohsiung City are currently planning for such plants.
In order to expand food waste disposal capacity, the EPA is also actively pushing for the co-digestion of food waste with other organic wastes (pig excrement and sewage sludge). Co-digestion is an anaerobic digestion process carried out in closed tanks that can reduce the odor problem that often arises from conventional composting. The Central Livestock Farm in Pingtung County has completed the installation of anaerobic co-digestion tanks and expects to finish co-digestion trial runs in October 2021. Should the trial results prove the method feasible, it will be promoted to other pig farms. Also, the EPA has been working with the Ministry of the Interior's (MOI) Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) to promote the co-digestion of wastewater sludge and food waste. A wastewater treatment plant is expected to be chosen in 2021 as a co-digestion pilot plant. It will be used first to digest only food waste slurry, with wastewater sludge to be gradually incorporated later. The plant is an example of inter-ministerial collaboration to build more diversified food waste disposal channels.
The EPA stressed that reutilizing food waste could effectively reduce the amount of waste to be incinerated and increase the green energy supply as it is a form of bioenergy, contributing to building a circular economy. The public is urged to help protect our homeland during the Lunar New Year by recycling food waste and transforming it into useful resources.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)