Brief Overview on Organic Waste Management

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Organic waste management is a challenge for city authorities in the United States due to the increasing generation of waste, the burden imposed on municipalities as a result of the high costs associated with the management, and the lack of understanding the diversity factors that affect the different stages of managing waste such as food scraps and compostable materials. These municipalities have often had the challenge of providing an effective and efficient system to the inhabitants of their region. Yet, they often face problems beyond the ability of the municipal authorities to tackle, mainly due to the lack of financial funding, structural organization, and not foreseeing the complexity and multidimensionality of the system required to efficiently process and collect organic waste. (Article 1, Sujauddin, Burntley).

Sustainable waste management consists of a comprehensive interdisciplinary framework for addressing the problems of managing the waste in an urban environment, where access to space may be constrained and the costs are high with no effective means of reducing or recovering the expenditure. Upgrading the coverage of organic waste management and collections services is an important precondition for improving the environmental quality of cities. The involvement and participation of all stakeholders such as waste generators (residents and businesses), waste processors, informal and formal agencies, non-governmental organizations (volunteer or religious groups) and financing institutions are key factors for establishing a sustainable management system.

Historically, municipal solid waste (MSW) management services have been primarily provided by government municipalities, yet to this day, there are few examples of composting services being subsidized by local government funding. Organic waste recycling services are costly and require financing from local taxpayers and/or state governments to operate. Large cities like San Francisco and Portland have composting mandates but the progressive mindset has not effectively reached the region of upstate NY. Over time though, the participation of the private sector in providing public waste-related services has grown particularly as the management practices evolved to encompass the economic, technological and geographic issues resulting in a heavy burden on the budget of many small municipalities (Article 5 Fernandez, ..) The increasing cost of solid waste management has led governments in numerous cities to examine if the service is best provided by public initiatives or the private sector. Public-private partnerships are often the proposed response to reduce the cost of waste management and improve the quality of service. It is often difficult for the public service to implement the changes necessary to match the efficiency of the private sector. However, future partnerships serve as a promising alternative to improve the management performance with privately owned enterprises often outperforming the publicly owned initiatives. Nonetheless, such processes are seldom straightforward, and the limitations must be recognized. The introduction of the private sector will only produce the desired result if proper monitoring and evaluation of public vs private service delivery are carried out. (Article 5 Ramamurti) Municipal programs that contact private collecting companies rather than use public employees and systems that feature centralized separation rather than solely curbside separation enjoy lower costs (Article 7). This analysis can prove to be useful to municipal officials interested in implementing the changes in these approaches to organic waste collection. Mindset Affiliated with Organic Waste Recycling and its Systems of Operation

In recent decades, food waste has become recognized as a significant environmental and social problem. In conjunction with the development of broader environmental awareness, people have become concerned with the impact of their dietary lifestyle. The trend toward more packaged, processed convenience foods, particularly in industrialized nations such as the United States, has further increased the concerns on waste associated with eating and the increasing volume of the organic food waste stream (Article 10). In Western nations, much processing waste is comprised of what consumers in these countries consider to be inedible portions of the raw ingredients peels, bones, skins, and substandard items, meaning edible but blemished. Consumer food waste occurs during food acquisition, preparation, and consumption. During preparation, consumers may remove the blemished portions of foods, as well as the edible portions such as skins, to obtain desired sensory and nutritional qualities. Additionally, the availability of cheap food in industrialized nations encourages overbuying and hoarding behaviors leading to excess waste. Since a nation’s food waste is generated by the accumulation of thousands of local waste sources, understanding and quantifying the food waste streams from local communities is important. Local efforts to decrease food waste and individualized to each community’s unique food systems are more likely to succeed than non-specific large-scale efforts combating recyclable, biodegradable municipal waste such as food scraps. "However, there has been very little published evaluation of the perceived effectiveness and public attitudes toward such schemes, and this is significant given that the collection programs are currently heavily dependent upon the voluntary behavior of the public" (Article 2). Research by Tucker (2001 Article 2) (Proper citation needed) has found that the most commonly claimed barriers to food scraps collection are not possessing a proper container, and not being aware of the provisions or of how to use it. In addition, the way in which the public participates in waste minimization is equally important as how many people participate.

There are many challenges arising from a high degree of complexity around food waste. In designing initiatives to engage the public on this issue, there are many potential ways to approach the issue and consequently, provide many kinds of messages. If multiple approaches are suggested to target different parts of the population, this serves as an opportunity to engage a larger proportion. Yet such tasks are not easily accomplished since they require a good understanding of who is doing what and the motivations behind the actions. Effective research techniques will necessitate a range of methods, covering the compositional analysis of the food waste, examination of monetary constraints and funding, as well as ethnographic studies. The purposes of the studies must differentiate and compare how much waste is generated at the different stages of the community food collecting system, and contribute to the growing awareness of food waste by assessing the community’s ecological impact. Caution must be taken because the findings and messages portrayed may not be pertinent to all parts of the population. Poor targeting can lead to many people not engaging with the issue and being turned off by the entire campaign. (Article 12)

The importance of community participation is widely recognized, but a close examination of the methods that are deemed "participatory" reveals considerable variability in meaning and intent. Therefore, it is possible to compare programs based upon the character of participation involved, and to evaluate a program’s potential for success based on the appropriateness of that character. (Article 13) Diversity, adaptability, and multiplicity of ideas and actions must be promoted by the program. In designing the "interventions", it is unwise to assume that individuals within the community are isolated from legislative policies, markets, and other external influences, whether it be demographic, economic, cultural, environmental or social, that operate at a regional or national level. Socio-political factors may be the leading hindrances that stifle the effectiveness of a food recovery project. Organizers should identify the cultural acceptability of the project’s goals and methods, as well as the changes in technologies and policies it promoted. Additionally, promoting policies favorable to the project’s goals and tailoring the interventions to work within the existing policy nature of the community where the food collection services are to be established. Institutional flexibility and adaptability to ensure resilience and continued relevance both within the program and among the organizations it helps strengthen is also must. Successful programs addressing food waste will facilitate learning and sharing knowledge to empower individuals and communities. This can be done through farmer to farmer exchanges, school programs, and participatory experimentation. Employees of the food scraps collecting organization or program staff need to be aware of these influences, investigate their strengths and design interventions with the factors in mind. Analysis on Food Waste Food waste has serious consequences for the environment and human health. Significant energy losses occur when the food is discarded, including the energy used to produce and distribute the food and afterward, process the wasted food. The harmful impacts do not end there since wasted food threatens the environmental and community health.

Contrary to popular belief, organic waste not handled aids in the destruction of the biophysical environment through air pollution by gas production of decaying matter and contaminates nearby waterways through runoff or leaching. Rathje and others (Provide citation, Article 11?) have shown that organic wastes do not decay or evaporate in the rapidly growing landfills, contributing to the anaerobic environment in which the waste is buried. Viewing the situation from an ecological standpoint, reducing food waste promotes environmental sustainability by conserving energy sources, protecting microhabitats, reducing environmental costs of burning fossil fuels and preserving nearby waters and air quality. Their studies have demonstrated that a considerable amount of food waste occurred at the latter consumer phase rather than the lesser extent at food production, processing, and distribution stages. Given this, the generation of food waste is best viewed not as a single behavior but the cultivation of numerous behaviors that increase the likelihood of food being wasted. The practices associated with waste generation and prevention are complex for several reasons: food waste is the result of multiple, intertwined actions and this causes a separation between the act ivity and their consequences. Furthermore, the prevention of food waste has less "visibility" to other people (e.g. neighbors) than many other pro-environmental behaviors (e.g. recycling) and therefore social norms around waste play a reduced role compared to more "visible" activities. (Article 12)

The environmental benefits of recycling are also more intuitive since these occur downstream of the discarding of the object: through substitution of raw material in any future production to avoidance of landfill emissions. Model for Developing a Food Waste Management System (Article Citation provide here) The model incorporates the importance of approaching a development or analysis of a management system in three dimensions. The dimensions include: stakeholders that have an interest in solid waste management, the flow of materials from the generation points toward treatment or final disposal and the lenses through which the system is analyzed. Especially, it focuses on investigating the stakeholder’s action and behaviors that influence the elements of a city’s food waste management system. The factors deal with environmental, technical, socio-cultural, legal/institutional and economic linkages to enable the overall system to function.

Keep waste management in priority, have a definite organizational setup with trained staff, implement legislation, compliment private/public participation, enlist informal sector participation, maintain up to date database City planners Keep food waste management in mind while developing city plans, demarcate space for the facilities of organic waste processing and disposal (composting) with ideal buffer zones (if need be) Social workers/ Volunteers

Take lead in forming community participation, network with other similar minded organizations in the area and integrate the efforts rather than duplicating the required jobs, use existing contacts with influential bodies to ensure maximum support, organize and sponsor city campaigns Academia Professionals. Influence minds on the culture of food waste management, carry out relevant research and development Senior Citizens. 

Segregate garbage, influence and keep check on parents/friends/family members Vendors/Local Businesses Ensure that food waste is properly handled, ensure that customers have an easy alternative to throw out their waste in a designated section Politicians Lead the campaigns and work in unison towards the interest of the public and local volunteer organizations, pressure the government or municipal corporations to make this a priority. Politicians should not give low priority to food waste compared to other municipal activities. This usually results in a lack of funding or limited trained and skilled personnel tackling the issues. Corporations Ensure that all employees understand the gravity of the situation and take actions to support it, spread the message across the city and nearby regions, support local initiatives and sponsor programs *Additional stakeholders may be active in local communities as food waste generators, collection services users, initiators of awareness raising campaigns, parties with political interests. **However, when using the model to conduct analysis or implementation of steps on a specific geographic region, the demography, environmental factors, as well as industrial or social structures will affect the data. (i.e., quantity and composition of the respective waste, and transport distances within the region) In the previous years, it has been regarded that food waste management is the sole duty and responsibility of local authorities, rendering the governments as the most important stakeholders. They set up the policies and provisions for the management systems respectively, therefore the individuals assume that the public is not expected to contribute. However, as seen in the chart above, private contractors and the service users: households, civic organizations, commercial and industrial sector groups are also regarded as important stakeholders. "The operational efficiency of solid waste management depends upon the active participation of both the municipal agency and the citizens, therefore, socio-cultural aspects mentioned by some scholars include people participating in decision making, community awareness, and societal apathy for contributing in the solutions" (Article 2?)

The roles of households in food storage and waste collection/disposal are critical, both as an expression of individual responsibility and as a form of dedicated collective action to be undertaken together with neighbors and community groups. Actions must be taken to mobilize these households, to supervise performance by service providers, and coordinate waste management with other stakeholders, which can be done through the local authority. The local authority has a range of roles in this respect, including policy-making to legitimize and support the roles of the communities, support for and participation in awareness raising campaigns, and providing reliable collection and disposal facilities. It is a challenge for local authorities to adjust their operational procedures to coordination with new partners. The challenge that faces local authorities is to create sustainable models for urban food waste services. Although there are many working micro-models, there is not yet a clear answer to the question "How should we manage our waste?" A comprehensive plan should be developed by management bodies for organic solid wastes. There must be regular monitoring for the implementation of activities and periodic review. In particular, the elements of food waste prevention and composting, which rely most heavily on household participation, are underdeveloped, and it is most definitely certain that community groups and existing or new stakeholders need to be a part of the process of finding answers. (Article 3) Organizing for Social Change Potentially can include information from Document 1

Successful implementation mandates seriousness, commitment and genuine involvement of numerous participants. Private sector involvement implies a shift in the role of government institutions from a service provision to regulation. Essential conditions for a successful private sector involvement can include the technical and organizational capacity and monitoring and control systems. Performance quality is also a key factor that should be considered in deciding whether to continue the food waste management as a public initiative or privatize the service. Afterward, the public can be motivated to cooperate through creative advertisements, direct or indirect financial benefits, and through regulatory procedures that are enforced on local businesses and the consumers.

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Brief Overview on Organic Waste Management. (2021, Mar 10). Retrieved May 20, 2024 , from

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