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The economic and environmental benefits analysis for food waste anaerobic treatment: a case study in Beijing

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The disposal of food waste has attracted worldwide attention. Each year, the amount of wasted food accounts for an estimated one third of annual food production globally. This large amount of food waste has caused serious land, water, and air pollution. In the past, most research on food waste was focused solely on food waste disposal processing. Only a few studies analysed the flow of materials in food waste treatment processes. Therefore, this paper focused on the process of food waste anaerobic treatment in Beijing and investigated the treatment. According to a life cycle theory, the food waste treatment process is divided into three processes: “collection and transportation, disposal, and resource utilization.” This paper analysed the input and output of food waste treatment in different processes and evaluated the economic and environmental costs and benefits of food waste treatment. The study found that 200 t of food waste anaerobic treatment can obtain benefits 66,888 Chinese yuan, generate electricity energy 43,350 kW⋅h, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions 16,087 kg. Generally, the economic and environmental benefits of the food waste anaerobic treatment project are considerable. However, the economic benefits are mainly from government subsidies. There are many impurities in food waste, which indicates some problems in food waste treatment. Thus, the proposals to strengthen waste classification, optimize the layout of garbage collection and transportation, and accelerate the development of waste treatment plants have been put forward.

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Project supported by the Social Science Foundation of Beijing (16YJC062) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (2017MS082 and 2018ZD14).

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Correspondence to Xiaoyu Yang.

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Guo, X., Yang, X. The economic and environmental benefits analysis for food waste anaerobic treatment: a case study in Beijing. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 10374–10386 (2019).

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