Healthcare Development Magazine

Published on : January 13, 2011

Sustainable Commercial Zero Waste System

Sustainable Commercial Zero Waste System

Zero waste concepts have become more common now, than ever. Zero waste commercial kitchen’s challenge our everyday thought of what sustainability is and how we achieve it. Standard many years ago were typical garbage disposers and pulping systems. These systems, which assist with large volume operations, have never addressed the waste streams final destination in a sustainable manner.

Embracing zero waste concepts takes a great amount of planning. The initial costs are relatively considerable, but the savings on the investment pay off in a few years. Unlike the traditional systems in place today, the zero waste concept uses grey-water directly from the dish machine (conveyor or flight type) to fill the waste slurry system (open system or close coupled). This in turn will prime and fill the pulping system, which will save approximately 40-60 gallons of fresh potable water each time for the initial fill. Throughout the hours of operation, the grey-water pumps will automatically feed the system to maintain the correct water levels. Once the system has reached the proper water level, the system is ready to start. Benefits when using grey-water are that the water already having latent detergents will have a “cleansing” effect on the entire system, additionally keeping odors and disease to a minimum. In most cases, the leftover food products are brought to a drop off point where the scraping begins. Plates, service trays, and residual kitchen cooking waste are deposited into a trough where a six inch deep flume of grey-water carries away the waste to the pulper and extractor. Food scraps, trimmings, and peelings are beneficial and add to the overall end result of organic composting. Additionally, in some instances, operators choose to use disposable corn based portion control products, which are more commonplace now, than ever. These products can also be collected and macerated to achieve a full organic waste stream as well. Users of this system experience the benefits of volume reduction and material handling, as well as freedom from the tedious task of sorting their waste for disposal.

Once the waste products are pulped, they are then introduced to two variants for composting, dehydration, or vermiculture organic decomposition. These end results can be achieved by either mechanical means or vermicast bedding solutions. The final products are small particles that can be used as a soil amendment for vegetative gardens or soil conditioning.

In one case study, a school implemented this system for 1150 students on campus and has saved approximately 32,000.00 gallons of fresh potable water each year, by recovering the waste water of the dishwasher. Additionally, the chemical used in the dishwasher is bio-degradable and consequently has very low surfactant content. This assist’s with attaining a very high rate of processing at the waste water treatment facility, hence making the impact of the environment less damaging. The reduction of waste products was approximately 90 percent in comparison to standard refuse hauling. Reducing waste volume’s also reduces labor costs, by decreasing the time and effort needed for trash removal. It also reduces costs associated with waste transportation, disposal, and pest control.
Zero waste systems are very effective in reducing costs and simplifying the waste disposal process in schools, hospitals, prisons, cruise ships, casinos, or any other institutional foodservice facility where the volume of or handling of foodservice waste presents a costly or logistically difficult situation.

Key features at a glance:

  • Water savings of 20,000*-50,000* gallons of water savings(*dependant of system requirements).
  • 144,000.00** pounds of waste are diverted from the local landfill(**based on 400# daily processing system).
  • Less harmful protein laden substances returning to the municipal waste stream.
  • Waste volume reductions using a Zero Waste system can be as high as 90 percent.
  • Reduced waste hauling with system ROI at approximately 2-4 years.

About the ASF:

Advanced Foodservice Solutions (“AFS”)’s commitment is to provide business and design consulting services to augment each client’s opportunity for success understanding the inherent uniqueness of every client and project as the basis for fresh, innovative, and creative design solutions yet meeting financial and budgetary goals. AFS is proud to state as an independent consulting company and this ensures that all work is done with the best interest of our clients in mind. AFS mission is to conduct the activities of the company using the highest ethical standards of the profession; strive to develop a long-term relationship with our clients by respecting their needs and implementing effective solutions to strengthen this partnership; contributing to the community and maintain an atmosphere that encourages learning, exploring, and the true enjoyment of the foodservice design business. We recognize that in a globally competitive market, you need every edge you can get. You must plan carefully and respond quickly in a rapid changing environment. Whether your facility is in the preliminary design stages or fully operational, AFS Design Team’s goal is to act as a true partner to each client and deliver creative, aesthetic, and practical solutions that meet the specific requirements of the project at hand. By involving the AFS Design Team at the earliest stage of a project, you are assured that the project flow from idea to implementation is consistent. Our years of experience, educational background and internal resources have made the AFS Design Team, the quality leader in situation assessment and solution development with highest level of ethics and respect for our clients.