Brussels, September 26, 2023. On the observance of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, we remind that every year in the European Union, approximately 59 million tons of food go to waste, accounting for 10% of the total food production.
The economic cost of this loss is estimated at around 132 billion euros, and it also has a significant environmental impact, contributing to 16% of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, this wastage depletes natural resources such as water, land, and energy, which are essential for food production, leading to negative impacts on both the environment and society.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EU has committed to halving food waste by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. To achieve this goal, the European Commission has proposed a comprehensive set of legislative measures related to agriculture, the environment, and the circular economy in food chains.
The contribution of LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 to improving food waste management and generating clean energy
Food waste generated by the HORECA sector (Hotels, Restaurants and Catering) now has a more sustainable alternative to simply being disposed of in landfills, which helps reduce emissions from their decomposition. In Europe, there are approximately 18,000 wastewater treatment plants equipped with digesters, and these facilities have the capability to harness surrounding food waste to produce biogas for self-consumption. This can result in a significant reduction in energy bills. It is estimated that roughly 3% of total energy consumption in Europe corresponds to the operation of these treatment plants.
Furthermore, the final product of this eco-digestion process becomes a valuable organic substrate that can be transformed into biofertilizer, thus contributing to the circular economy for food.
LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 project focuses on providing specific benefits to the HORECA sector. Through an efficient food waste treatment process in this sector, it not only contributes to renewable energy generation but also promotes self-sufficiency and circular waste management.
About LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0
LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 is a pilot demonstration project, funded by LIFE Programme and with a budget of more than 970,000 EUR, which generates biogas in sewage treatment plant digesters by mixing putrescible organic waste (slurry, poultry, organic fractions, MSW, horeca, etc.), thus transforming sewage sludge into green energy through technology. The initiative led by Global Omnium, (Spain), in collaboration with the Finnova Foundation (Belgium) and Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal) aims to become the most versatile digestion control tool on the market, achieving environmental and economic benefits through the production of biogas by making optimal use of waste. Thanks to this technology, it favours the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the use of sewage sludge generated in wastewater treatment processes, thus achieving a positive impact on the environment. This programme is easily scalable with other funds such as FEDER, NextGenerationEU or Repower EU.