Dubai tackles food waste with new tech: the LFC biodigester

April 24, 2023

4 minutes, 49 seconds read

Dubai tackles food waste with new tech: the LFC biodigester

As Dubai has exploded in growth over the last few decades – growing its population 165 times over the course of just 70 years – its food waste has grown exponentially too. In 2014, the city tracked 494,315 tonnes of food waste. It was about that time that the city set out to curb its waste. 

In 2010, the World Wildlife Fund had revealed that the United Arab Emirates was home to the world’s largest ecological footprint. That moment led to a reckoning for the country and a decision to do better. In fact, Dubai set the steep goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable city by 2050. That journey has taken many directions, and food waste has been a critical part of it.

The Municipality of Dubai, the city’s government center, began a multi-pronged initiative to reduce food loss while improving food security. By diverting usable excess food to the United Arab Emirates Food Bank, and recycling the remainder into animal feed when appropriate, the city reduced food loss by an astounding 93% from 2016 to 2019. 

Tackling the remaining food loss has required innovative new solutions. This is why organizations throughout Dubai have invested in LFC biodigesters

Food waste reduction in government 

Since beginning its commitment to reducing food waste, Dubai has made tremendous strides in its goal to be the first city in the region to achieve zero food waste and fully divert food waste from landfills by 2030. On a large scale, Dubai municipality has invested more than $1 billion USD in completing the world’s largest waste-to-energy plant, planned to be fully operational by 2024. 

The government center has also taken smaller, more manageable steps to divert food waste from landfills in the interim.

In 2019, Dubai Municipality installed an LFC-70 biodigester. In 2020 alone, the machine diverted a total of 2,270 kg of food waste from local landfills. 

Visit our Center of Sustainability to learn how biodigesters provide an environmentally friendly food waste disposal solution.

Corporate food waste reduction 

Given the government of Dubai’s attention to sustainability, it is no surprise that many corporations have followed its path. For example, as part of its commitment to efficient, sustainable operation, Microsoft Dubai invested in a solar-powered biodigester to process its food waste. The company uses the greywater output as an organic fertilizer, creating a circular economy. 

“Microsoft has set a clear goal to be carbon negative, water positive, and waste zero by 2030,” explains James Spearman, UAE Sustainability Lead, Microsoft. “By implementing the digester system here in our Dubai office, we’re able to process our food waste locally.” By using an in-house food waste processing solution, companies reduce emissions generated in transporting waste to landfills, as well as the methane released by food waste in the landfill. “[We’re] making our offices and, ultimately, the planet, a more sustainable place to work,” Spearman adds. 

Hospitality’s food waste reduction mandate

While the push from the local government to reduce food waste has helped drive tremendous progress, it’s not the only impetus. Dubai’s hospitality industry, for example, is driven by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s mandate that all hotels join the Sustainability for Hotel Establishments effort to raise the bar as a leader in sustainable tourism. Under the mandate, hotels must regularly report on sources of carbon emissions, including waste. 

This industry-wide sustainability commitment has spurred many Dubai hotels to continuously improve waste management programs.

That’s why the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach opted to install an LFC-200 biodigester capable of digesting up to 600 kg of food waste generated at its 11 restaurants each day. 

The resort’s engineering and EHS team tested several biodigesters before settling on the LFC biodigester as the best possible solution. “The Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach chose the LFC biodigester as their organic waste management due to the low operating costs and superior product quality,” says Shakeel Khaleel, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Power Knot Middle East. “The LFC biodigester has not only helped Four Seasons meet their sustainability goals, but has also dramatically reduced waste management costs.”

The H Hotel in the heart of Dubai has also put food waste mitigation efforts at the center of its ambitious work to reduce its carbon footprint. The 5-star hotel implements initiatives around portion control, appropriate food storage, and avoiding wastage during preparation or through spoilage. When possible, the hotel donates leftovers to dog shelters. The rest is sent to the biodigester. 

“The hospitality industry is credited for its large carbon footprint due to its massive food operations and the resulting challenge of food waste,” commented Sophie Blondel, General Manager at The H Dubai, in a Trade Arabia article announcing the hotel’s latest Green Key Certification by the Emirates Green Building Council. “To tackle the issue, The H Dubai Hotel has installed the Power Knot LFC-100 biodigester to address the challenge of food waste. It improves in-house food management and disposes organic waste quickly and safely while massively reducing the property’s carbon footprint.”

In two months, the biodigester managed 1,830 kg of food waste. The wastewater byproduct is being used to irrigate the hotel landscaping.

Looking forward, the hotel operations team aims to use the data gathered by the biodigester to identify additional strategies for reducing food waste.

How can an LFC biodigester fit into your food waste goals? 

As Dubai has learned, reducing food loss requires a multi-pronged, top-down approach. After updating purchasing strategies, implementing appropriate portion control, and donating unsold food, most organizations will find they still have some amount of food waste. 

Fortunately, there’s an LFC biodigester designed to fit virtually every footprint and need. To discover the system that best suits your needs, contact Power Knot today.