Food That Gives Gas

by Dennis Machicao

When you go to a restaurant and have a fine meal you feel satisfied, and well you should. But have you ever wondered what happens to your meal if you do not finish it, and all the other meals that are not finished in the restaurant and hundreds of other restaurants that are in the city where you live. Where does that food go, is it thrown out into the garbage with a destination into landfills.

In serving hundreds of meals a night there is also the scraps of food that is generated in their preparation and again thrown into the garbage and winding up into a landfill.

Well the next time you are having a fabulous meal in a restaurant in Paris, France you need not worry. It seems that France, has not been keeping up with the rest of the northern countries in Europe as far as having recycling programs and they want to change that. At least the restaurants in Paris do.

Before a French law becomes into effect in 2016 that will force restaurants and other French food outlets to recycle their food waste or pay a 75,000 euro fine (that’s about a little over $103,000 in today’s exchange), a group of about 80 restaurants, caterers and hotels have signed up for a pilot program to collect their food waste so it can be used in the generating of biogas that will then be used to produce electricity and heat while also producing compost for the farms around Paris.

In turning organic waste into methane, France is focusing its efforts in recycling and thus minimizing the dumping into landfills, incinerating waste and thus reducing greenhouse gases. The restaurants are happy that their organic waste is collected by biogas run trucks and recycled. And have also found that they get positive response from their patrons in doing so.

In order for this to work, a German company has built and runs four biogas plants in France that can handle 40,000 tons of waste per year and turn it into methane gas that is used in power plants in generating electricity and heat. The waste is then further composted and turned into fertilizer for farm use.

The former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, initiated plans for one of his progressive programs to collect and separate food waste from households. In New York some 100 restaurants took the initiative to participate in a pilot program for composting organic waste. I am sure if Mr. Bloomberg continued to be mayor he would have instituted a program similar to the on in Paris for NY eateries.

So, if you are not a member of the clean plate club you need not worry, at least if you are in Paris. You can be assured that whatever you don’t finish on your plate, it will be put to good use.

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