How the City of Melbourne tackled its food waste problem
Prior to introducing a recycling facility initiative, Degraves Street in Melbourne was producing 700kg of food waste a day with no levels of consistency in respects of recycling. Without source separation systems in place, 90% of waste produced, which could be diverted from landfills, was not.
Geoff Robinson, Manager of Engineering Services City of Melbourne, says “This initiative had its birth in a council policy where we were required to put in place a waste action plan for council. One of those ways was to look at how we could reduce waste to landfill; improve levels of recycling; and as a spin-off to work with the community to achieve those objectives.”
Staff from food establishments are trained to separate leftover scraps to allocated bins provided by the Council. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this facility is how organics are processed. Mainly comprising leftovers from diners’ plates, organics are processed through a food dehydrator and mulches so they can be used as soil conditioner or fertiliser - a significant reduction of waste that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
Some establishments have been able to reduce their 1100 litre bins to 600 litre bins while still effectively managing their waste output. This is an all-round win as cost to waste to landfill is reduced.
Education has been key to this initiative and the success of the Degraves Street Recycling Facility.
Robinson said: “If we can demonstrate a win here, then we’d like to find another place in the city of a similar demographic for a similar experience.”
This guest post was brought to you by the Australasian Waste and Recycling Expo. AWRE are running a special guided Lunch Tour: Food Recycling in the CBD on Thursday 13 August from 12.40pm to 3.30pm for those keen to learn more and see the facility for themselves. Click here for more information.