Food waste diversion technology employed by companies around the world such as Keurig, Nespresso, and Disney could help a Michigan town save $200,000 a year.
Brian Masterson, the superintendent of public works for Kinross Township, recently told 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis that he is considering a plan to combine food waste with wastewater at the local wastewater treatment plant, creating enough gas to power the entire facility.
“We could be heat and power sufficient off of the grid,” Masterson said to reporter Katherine Johnson, explaining the potential savings.
In order to get there, he said he’s looking at a machine called the Turbo Separator produced by New Prague, Minnesota-based Scott Equipment Company.
“Keurig and Nespresso use the machine to separate coffee grounds from single-use pods in order to recycle the pods,” Johnson wrote. “Even Disney World uses a Turbo Separator to turn all the waste from the resort into energy for the park.”
The machine can de-package wet and dry food waste streams through equipment that has the ability to separate sugar from tiny paper pouches and separate lard from 5-gallon pails, according to the company. Paddles inside work at packaged food until the contents emerge, mainly leaving the packaging intact, Johnson explained.
This technology allows users to divert food waste away from a landfill in quantities upward of 200 tons daily, a representative for Scott Equipment told the news outlet.
Reclaimed food and industrial products can be diverted in four different ways — animal feed, organics for compost, product destruction and recycling, and anaerobic digester feedstock, the company says.
Addressing food waste has become a top priority for municipalities around the United States, and for governments worldwide. A report from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future published last year found that many government plans for reducing food waste could be strengthened by target-setting, monitoring, and evaluation.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to reducing wasted food,” Roni Neff, an assistant professor who oversaw the study, said at the time. “But the people developing and implementing these plans face many of the same challenges and have a lot to learn from one another.”