Solid Waste Disposal

Most solid wastes from food processing are generated in processing raw materials. Some materials, such as packaging, faulty or damaged containers, office or warehouse papers, and refuse from laboratories, should be kept separate from the food solids. Solid food waste is produced in growing and harvesting raw crops, in food processing, and by the retailer and consumer.

Many food processing operations are seasonal and generate large quantities of organic solid wastes in a short time. The putrescible nature of the wastes requires quick handling in utilization or disposal. Land disposal opera-tions—by far the most common method of disposal—must be rigidly controlled to prevent odor production and fly breeding. It is apparent that the food processing industry must recycle and recover more of its by-products.

Utilization of food processing waste as animal feed is a widely used method of disposal. In some areas, seafood canning waste is pressed into fish meal for animal feed or into fertilizer material. Tomatoes are pressed and dehydrated for use as dog food and cattle food. Pea vines, corncobs, and corn husks are also used as feed. Citrus peel waste may be pressed for molasses, which may then be processed, dried, and sold as cattle feed. Certain types of pits and nutshells have been converted to charcoal.

Other possibilities exist, such as producing alcohol from fruit wastes and composting fruit waste solids, but usually it is much cheaper to dump, landfill, spread on the land, or discharge at sea than to attempt reclamation. There does not appear to be much chance of a change in this area unless prevailing economic conditions can be altered through new legal restrictions or some form of subsidy program.

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