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Thinking differently about food waste

At Reconomy we’re always trying to find innovative solutions to minimise costs associated with waste. As part of this, we explore every opportunity to move waste up the waste hierarchy, thereby extending its lifespan as a resource and reducing the likelihood of it finding its way to landfill.

Food waste often presents a problem to our customers for several reasons:

  • It can contaminate many other forms of waste. When this happens, it can significantly reduce opportunities for recycling
  • When food ends up in landfill, it decomposes without oxygen, and as a result, it releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas
  • If food waste is mixed with general waste, it can be very expensive to dispose of. General waste is typically the most expensive type of waste, so this is never a cheap or sustainable solution.

For one of our customers working within the commercial real estate services sector, we came up with an innovative solution to their food waste woes to help them achieve:

  • 100% landfill diversion
  • Create a closed-loop solution for their food waste
  • Keep costs associated with food waste to a minimum.

Instead of arranging for separate food waste collections, Reconomy installed a Rocket Composter on the customer’s premises. Capable of processes all types of food, garden and horticultural waste, a Rocket Composter provides a clean and simple solution that allows organic waste to be treated after its disposal with minimal operator interaction.

After 14 days, the composter had transformed the customer’s food waste into a highly effective fertiliser for use on lawns and other green areas, thereby closing the loop of recycling.

Utilising the customer’s existing food waste levels, the composter is currently producing approximately 35kg of compost each week for use on surrounding farmland. Eventually the customer plans to grow their own fruit and vegetables using the compost, which will then be resold or reused within their on-site canteen, providing a fully circular solution. To encourage buy-in from site personnel, the customer is now looking to create a visual mural within the canteen showing the circular journey of their food waste from start to finish.

Additional benefits of installing the Rocket Composter have included:

  • Eliminating the need for the transportation of organic wastes, thereby reducing the customer’s waste associated carbon footprint
  • Minimal resources needed – the composter only requires 15-20 minutes of labour per day
  • The cost of operating the composter is only wood chips, coffee grounds and other nutrients used as bulking agents, along with minimal electrical power.

If you would like us to help you think differently about your waste (food, or otherwise) by implementing sustainability-driven, closed-loop solutions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.