Machine turns tonnes of food scraps into wastewater in Melbourne

Compost

A machine installed by City of Melbourne has stopped more than 60 tonnes of garbage from going to landfill in the past year by turning food scraps into wastewater.

In the 12 months to June 2018, the Orca aerobic digestion system used micro-organisms to transform 62 tonnes of food scraps from the Degraves Street café precinct into greywater, making it one of the most heavily used machines of its type in operation in Australia.

Orca Enviro Systems executive general manager Tas Papas said micro-organisms in the unit digested the waste, creating wastewater that went straight into the sewer system via a grease arrestor.

“The Orca is basically a mechanical stomach that digests fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins, so you end up with greywater that is safe to put into the drain without resorting to landfill,” said Papas.

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“Degraves Street cafes set aside food waste as part of their daily operations. By diverting the food waste from landfill, we are also able to prevent greenhouse gases from escaping into the environment,” he said.

“Over the course of a year, that also means more than 8,000 litres in diesel fuel is saved because fewer trucks are needed on the road. Orca has helped City of Melbourne to build strong support among local businesses for food recycling efforts and keep the bustling precinct clean and appealing,” said Papas.

With food scraps generated from this busy café district increasing and with space at a premium, Orca was chosen to handle the increased volume of food waste.

It is part of a new wave of food recycling technology that is rolling out across Australia in shopping centres, food courts, hotels and pubs.

The machine was installed in the Degraves Street recycling facility in May 2017.

Orca focuses on reducing business’ environmental impact through the better management of organic food waste.

To do this, it partnered with Totally Green as the exclusive distributor of the Orca food waste system in Australia.