Deakin University has partnered with CSIRO, the City of Greater Geelong and the Geelong Manufacturing Council (Cleantech Innovations Geelong) to trial a food waste processing system that could divert hundreds of tonnes of greenhouse gas-producing food waste from landfill each year.
A successful three month trial of the system, Closed Loop CLO-30, has shown the potential to reduce waste by approximately 12 tonnes a year from one of the University’s corporate hospitality centres at the Waurn Ponds Estate.
Deakin Organisational Sustainability Manager Emma Connan said the Estate previously generated more than 24 tonnes of total waste per year – or 460kg per week – but the Closed Loop CLO-30 system enabled diversion of more than 245kg of weekly waste away from landfill by converting it into high-quality fertiliser.
Ms Connan said Deakin would now review whether the system could be implemented across the organisation’s four campuses and 19 food sites, possibly kicking off with a precinct-scale trial at Deakin University’s Melbourne Burwood Campus.
The successful trial program has led to Deakin University being shortlisted as a finalist in the 2017 Green Gown Awards Australasia, which is being held by Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability on 2 November.
The Closed Loop CLO-30 system works through pouring food waste into the machine, which then uses controlled temperatures, agitation, airflow and organic starter material to decompose and pasteurise the food and organic waste into dry compost over 24 hours.
Ms Connan said the process also reduced environmentally-harmful greenhouse gas emissions by up to eight tonnes per year, even after taking into account energy consumption and emissions from operating the technology.
Following the successful three month trial, the Waurn Ponds Estate – which operates a restaurant and regularly hosts catered functions and conferences – has now committed to using the system fulltime.