Source segregation of food waste in office areas: Factors affecting waste generation rates and quality

Vincent Maklawe Essonanawe Edjabou, Alessio Boldrin, Charlotte Scheutz, Thomas Fruergaard Astrup

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Existing legislation mandates that the amount of waste being recycled should be increased. Among others, in its Resource Strategy Plan, the Danish Government decided that at least 60% of food waste generated by the service sector, including in office areas, should be source-sorted and collected separately by 2018. To assess the achievability of these targets, source-sorted food waste and residual waste from office areas was collected and weighed on a daily basis during 133 working days. Waste composition analyses were conducted every week to investigate the efficiency of the source-sorting campaign and the purity of the source-sorted food waste. The moisture content of source-sorted food waste and residual waste fractions, and potential methane production from source-sorted food waste, was also investigated.Food waste generation equated to 23. ±. 5. kg/employee/year, of which 20. ±. 5. kg/employee/year was source-sorted, with a considerably high purity of 99%. Residual waste amounted to 10. ±. 5. kg/employee/year and consisted mainly of paper (29. ±. 13%), plastic (23. ±. 9%) and missorted food waste (24. ±. 16%). The moisture content of source-sorted food waste was significantly higher (8%) than missorted food waste, and the methane potential of source-sorted food waste was 463. ±. 42. mL. CH4/g VS. These results show that food waste in office areas offers promising potential for relatively easily collectable and pure source-sorted food waste, suggesting that recycling targets for food waste could be achieved with reasonable logistical ease in office areas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Pages (from-to)94-102
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Biochemical methane potential
  • Impurity
  • Residual waste
  • Sorting efficiency
  • Waste composition
  • Waste sorting bins
  • Impurities
  • Moisture
  • Moisture determination
  • Recycling
  • Methane potential
  • Potential methane productions
  • Recycling targets
  • Residual wastes
  • Waste generation rates
  • Waste sorting
  • Methane


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