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Food for Feed: An Innovative Process for Transforming Hotels’ Food Wastes into Animal Feed (LIFE-F4F (Food for Feed))
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Feb 28, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Background The European Union food and drink value chain causes 17% of the EU’s direct greenhouse gas emissions and 28% of material resource use. European consumption patterns have global impacts, especially related to the consumption of animal protein and water use. In the EU, it is estimated that 90 million tonnes of food waste is produced every year, equivalent to 180 kg per person. In some EU countries, especially those in the south, the majority of food waste ends up in landfill. In Greece, for example, more than 95% of food waste ended up in landfill in 2013, either directly or indirectly. The EU Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) sets as a target the progressive reduction of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill, to 35% of the 1995 disposal level by 2020, and the Circular Economy Package foresees a binding target to reduce landfill to a maximum of 10% of municipal waste by 2030. Furthermore, the latter foresees food waste as being one of the priority sectors that need to be addressed in a targeted way, to ensure that the interactions between the various phases of the cycle are fully taken into account along the whole value chain. It also foresees that measures will be taken so that foodstuff and by-products from the food chain are used in feed production without compromising safety. Objectives The main aim of the LIFE-F4F (Food for Feed) project is to evaluate, through a pilot-scale demonstration, an innovative and simple technology, and a low-emission process that enables the safe transformation of food waste, mainly from hotels (and more generally from the hospitality industry and restaurants), into animal feed. Food will be processed using a solar energy to pasteurise and dry food waste, a process that has not been tested or applied previously, either in Europe or elsewhere worldwide. The F4F process will address the need to reduce waste food going to landfill, and will support the implementation of separation schemes at source for food waste to create valuable raw materials for the production of feed. This reuse process, in line with the circular economy concept, will transform a waste management process into a feed producing one (and has been licensed as such). As it utilises solar power (directly and indirectly), it is also a low energy and low carbon emission process. The project aims to influence EU legislation on waste, the Circular Economy Package and the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe. Specific project objectives are to: Determine at pilot scale the quality of the animal feed produced by both the waste source separation system operating in hotels and restaurants, and the innovative drying/pasteurising methodology based on solar technology; Verify the various technical aspects of the suggested process, the main components of which are: a) non-invasive, refrigerated, separate collection, b) hand sorting/removal of non-food wastes, c) grinding, d) solar drying/pasteurising of the mixed food, and e) mixing with other animal feed (e.g. corn); and Evaluate economic and environmental parameters of the process and product (from the source to the shelf), as well as the commercial viability of full-scale units. Expected results: The main expected result of the LIFE-F4F (Food for Feed) project is to deliver a process that allows the safe, economically and environmentally viable transformation of food waste from hotels (and the hospitality industry generally) into animal feed, which can be utilised by the relevant animal breeding/husbandry and pet industry. The main expected result would be the creation of at least one full-scale industrial unit implementing the F4F process. This will be achieved by: A source separated food waste collection system that does not affect the quality of the collected food waste, especially in relation to the presence of non-food waste. The aim during the project is to collect 450 to 600 tonnes of food waste, and it is anticipated that 2.5 to 3.0 tonnes of food waste will produce 1.0 tonnes of feed; A hand sorting, grinding and solar drying/pasteurising pilot unit, able to produce at least 50 tonnes/year of acceptable quality feed, which includes both physiochemical and biological characteristics; A detailed feed production manual based on the operational data of the pilot unit and the extended evaluation of the end product; A series of manuals such as design, construction, business and marketing plans that would provide all the technical, operational and economical details; An environmental assessment of the process; and From a policy point of view, the aim is for the results to feed into the EU legislation on waste, the Circular Economy Package and the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.
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