Mendel Uni Scientists Working On New Biowaste Bin To Reduce Smells, Bugs and Rodents

Scientists from Brno’s Mendel University are developing a new food waste collection system for Czech housing estates that will eliminate unpleasant odours, possible infections and pests such as insects and rodents. They will also propose new ways of processing food waste based on the principle of the circular economy. Photo credit: Freepik.

Brno, April 25 (BD) – The three-year study into a system for collecting food waste in urban housing estates won the support of a CZK 6 million grant from the Gregor Johann Mendel Grant Agency. This is the second time that the school has run a grant competition for internal Mendel University projects.

“We want to optimize the collection of biowaste in the housing estate environment to suit households, municipalities and collection companies,” said Martina Vršanská from the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, AF MENDELU. From previous research by colleagues from the university’s Faculty of Business and Economics, scientists know that people most often throw away fruit and vegetables, baked goods, leftovers, and packaged food including packaging of both vegetable and animal origin. The composition of food in bins also varies slightly from season to season, but fruit, vegetables, baked goods and leftovers are the most commonly discarded in every season. In summer, for example, packaged food predominates over unpackaged food.

Martina Vrsanska. Photo credit: Veronika Pavlackova.

“The average Brno resident throws away 37.4 kilograms of food every year. People in the housing estate waste the most food, namely 53.6 kilograms per person per year. Biological waste accounts for 48.81 percent of the annual waste,” added Lucie Veselá from the Faculty of Operational Economics. Food waste puts constant pressure on the environment. Most food is wasted in households or restaurants.

With the data that scientists already have, experts will design a new waste collection container that will eliminate unpleasant odours, possible infections and pests such as insects or rodents. They will also present possible ways of processing food waste in terms of circular economy principles. “Our aim is primarily to move towards a more sustainable and efficient use of resources, where improving the composting process will lead to a quality and healthy product that can be used in sustainable agriculture,” said Vršanská.

This is the second time Mendel University has run an internal grant competition focused on interdisciplinary projects. In the current research project, experts from several fields will join forces, including economists, environmentalists and chemists. One of the objectives is to provide a coherent set of procedures and recommendations to facilitate the collection and subsequent treatment of food waste in line with the principles of the circular economy. “Households will know how to deal with food waste, but we will also provide tips on how to reduce food waste and offer municipalities or urban districts a suitable system for collecting food waste on housing estates,” Veselá added. The project builds on research by experts from the Faculty of Operational Economics, who have been collecting data for several years and are now trying to change people’s behaviour so that they waste less.

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