Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has enacted a food waste recycling policy since 2003 as an alternative of landfill and incineration for the final disposal of municipal solid waste. Recycled food waste is currently seen as a valuable material, especially when appropriate technology is developed. This paper conducts a cost/benefit analysis based on six cases of food waste composting plants in Taiwan, finding that (1) the composting of food waste may yield the most net benefit compared to other applications of today; (2) the production cost of compost ranges from NT$ 2897–23,117/tonne; (3) the adoption of more automatic technology may reduce operation costs and, thus, a closed composting system with mechanical aeration may be more cost effective; (4) the output is a determinant of affecting production costs and private firms are more competitive in production costs than government-affiliated composting units; (5) all of the government-affiliated composting units face a negative profit and thus they are required to make use of the market value of the produced compost to achieve economic viability; and (6) a subsidy to the compost producer is needed to expand the market demand as the food waste recycled can save the disposal cost of municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration.
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