Dehydrators make light of heavy problem: Bega Valley

Staff at Hillgrove House being trained how to use the new food dehydrators by Enrich360 CEO Dean Turner, with BVSC Waste Project Officer Rechelle Fisher.
Staff at Hillgrove House being trained how to use the new food dehydrators by enrich360 CEO Dean Turner, with BVSC Waste Project Officer Rechelle Fisher.

Three local businesses have diverted more than 30 tonnes of food waste away from landfill after participating in a Bega Valley Shire Council program to dehydrate kitchen scraps and leftovers.

Council’s Waste Services Manager, Alan Gundrill said the program was a success, with two of the three businesses continuing beyond the trial period.

“We initiated the twelve-month trial with business owners who may have found our FOGO service difficult due to their high output of food waste and limited bin space.

“In looking for a solution, we were able to work with food dehydrations experts, Enrich360 with assistance from a $276,400 grant provided by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the Waste Levy.

“Using food waste dehydrator technology takes a low-value waste product and turns it into a high-quality organic fertiliser while reducing food waste mass by up to 90% and eliminating the problem of bin odours.

“This really opens the door for high volume food businesses like aged care facilities, clubs and restaurants to include responsible food waste management as part of their operations and brand.

“Trial results show it suits businesses with pre-existing food waste disposal procedures. These businesses can easily adapt through fine tuning processes that are already in place.”

Kitchen Manager of Bega’s Hillgrove House, Tammy Prime, who participated in the trial along with Pambula’s Imlay House and Acacia Ponds Village in Millingandi, said the new setup is productive and easy.

“The dehydrator is now an integral part of the kitchen. We can’t imagine not having it,” Ms Prime said.

Council’s Waste Project Officer, Rechelle Fisher said the trial shows how investing in innovative technology can boost a brand’s environmental credentials while making a very real reduction to food waste in landfill.

“It’s a win for the environment because food waste generates harmful greenhouse gases, including methane, which is 26 times more harmful to the Earth’s atmosphere than CO2.

“Between Hillgrove House and Imlay House, they are projected to keep more than 20 tonnes of food waste away from landfill this year. That’s just two businesses; imagine what could be achieved if more adopt this method.

“The trial has given us valuable data to share with business owners who are keen to tackle the food waste problem. With dehydration an option, along with FOGO for Business, and our food donation program, Nourish & Flourish, we can move even closer to our goal of no food in landfill.”

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