The sheer amount of food waste, both avoidable and unavoidable, especially within the urban environment, presents multiple challenges to the modern society. From the additional pressure imposed on food production and associated processes, to the disposal management of the generated food waste, our natural resources are depleted in an unorthodox way. Eventually, this pressure strains our environment and the global economy. One also needs to consider social and legal barriers and opportunities that may hinder or enable reducing food waste and reintroducing it as part of the circular economy. In this context, the City of Heraklion faces multiple challenges as, on the one hand modern habits and tourism generate significant quantities of food waste while the financial crisis renders others incapable of covering their nutritional requirements, and on the other local waste infrastructure and management require support in order to modernise and to become efficient.
A2UFood proposes a holistic management scheme in which all aspects of reduction, reuse, and recycling of food waste are included. Specifically, a series of complementary project actions aim in the reduction of avoidable food waste, the utilisation of unavoidable food waste as raw materials, and the proper management of unavoidable food waste. In the core of A2UFood is the entire food water production change (hotels, restaurants, and households). To carry out the proposed solution, a range of innovative tools will be designed and put into action:
- software to support families in reducing avoidable food waste
- software and hardware for reducing avoidable food waste in the hospitality sector
- a second opportunity food restaurant
- a bioplastic production system for the production of compostable bags
- a range of stateof-the-art Autonomous Composting Units (ACUs) where treatment will take place on-site.
- City of Heraklion
- United Association of Solid Waste Management in Crete
- ENVIROPLAN S.A
- University of Crete
- Technological Educational Institute of Crete
- Harokopio University
- University of Stuttgart
A2UFood expects to reduce the amount of avoidable food waste, spark utilization of unavoidable food waste as raw materials, and facilitate processing of food waste in an environmentally friendly and financially beneficial manner within the City of Heraklion. In addition, A2UFood will make all gained experiences, knowledge, information, and data available for any public or private body to transfer and apply the A2UFood scheme in other urban environments. A2Ufood aims to reduce food waste by 1% in households and by 2-3% in the hospitality service sector. Furthermore, 1,000 t or 2.5% of unavoidable food waste for the Municipality of Heraklion will be diverted towards composting annually.
March 2018: Project kick-off with final agreements and monitoring plan in place.
September 2018: The first stone of the investment is laid with the completion of preparation actions and definition of technical specifications. Information campaigns begin, the second opportunity restaurant is licensed, analysis of hospitality unit food waste production and collection are completed. 100 households are selected to participate in home composting actions.
August 2019: The first version of the software is completed, and the RESOURCEMANAGER-FOOD tool is operational at the hospitality units. Paperwork for the development of the second opportunity restaurant, the bio-plastic unit, and the ACUs is tackled, and suppliers and contractors are selected.
February 2019: The first version of the software is completed. ACU and home composting suppliers and contractors are selected. The second opportunity restaurant and bio-plastic unit are constructed and equipped.
August 2020: With workshops and training courses completed, A2UFood is in its operational phase and all infrastructure is operational.
February 2020: With the end of the project the informative campaign is finalized, and the final versions of software and hardware developed within the project are available. Life Cycle Analysis and other cost-benefit evaluations of A2UFood are completed and the concept is ready for upscaling and adoption by other municipalities.
“For a City receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, it is imperative that holistic solid waste management takes account of them and the respective hospitality industry, if any planning and implementation should be successful.”