Breeding pigs will help to deal with Hong Kong's food waste

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 November, 2010, 12:00am

Nobody can be pleased to read that 40 per cent of landfill is made up of waste food ('Food waste from HK businesses shoots up', October 27). Landfills and expensive incineration are not the answer for dealing with this.

Japan has made huge headway with recycling waste food to feed pigs. For example, in Sapporo, the Sapporo Kitchen Garbage Recycle Centre was set up. It collects garbage from schools, hospitals and companies and processes it into dehydrated feed by a new system of dehydrating food waste.

The waste from pigs, if properly dealt with, can be recycled into heating oil or into crude oil. A recent breakthrough by a Chinese professor in Illinois sees the potential for this becoming a reality. Pig crude oil can be produced for about US$50 per barrel, well below current crude oil prices. Pig waste can also be turned into asphalt, another commodity used by Hong Kong in large amounts.

The government should, in partnership with a recognised large-scale pig producer, establish a modern pig city in Hong Kong. Starting with the 1,000 tonnes of commercial waste, which is easier to collect, it would convert this to some 750 tonnes of recycled pig food per day.

Now, one tonne of food will produce 10 pork pigs from conception to slaughter, that is 7,500 pigs per day. Hong Kong will require 1.7 million pigs for consumption this year, meaning that just recycling the 1,000 tonnes per day will leave us with pig food to export.

The waste from 10,000 pigs in one year would produce 500 barrels of crude oil. Our 1.7 million pigs would produce some 85,000 barrels of crude oil.

It also goes without saying a large number of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs would be created. These figures mean that if Hong Kong can realise this kind of recycling, we would have much to gain. A small pilot project launched by the government would not cost that much and could be the step forward we need.

Jeff Herbert, Clear Water Bay