Every week, two-and-half tons of food scraps from 90 businesses in the Degraves Street Precinct in Melbourne are dehydrated and turned into fertilizer.
Food waste is a big issue, especially in first-world nations such as the U.S.A., where 40% of the food produced and purchased is thrown in the trash and tossed into landfills. With 795 million people still going to bed hungry each night, this catastrophe shouldn’t still exist – yet it does.
Some initiatives have been introduced in recent years to reduce the amount of food populations waste, but none have been as effective as what a precinct in Australia has employed.
ABC News (Australia) reports that the Degraves Street Precinct city of Melbourne, Australia, has reduced its food waste by 90% by implementing an innovative food waste recycling program. Reportedly, 5,500 pounds of food scraps from 90 businesses have been dehydrated and turned into fertilizer for gardens and parks throughout the city.
The initiative may require a bit of extra work, but it’s helping to clean up the streets and reduce the amount of organic rubbish that is wasted in the city. Costing the city on average AU$300,000 (about $221,000 USD) annually, it’s providing work to seven employees as well as inspiring other areas around the world to commit to seriously going green.
Arron Wood, from the city of Melbourne, told the press:
“What we’ve seen immediately is a cleanup of the [street], so that’s an amenity issue. We’ve also had a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions.”
To comply with the program, staff members from businesses within the district transport their organic waste to a machine on Degraves Street that breaks down the waste at a high temperature. The GaiaRecycle, owned by the sustainability company EcoGuardians, strips the waste of its moisture. When it’s processed for a few hours at a high temperature, it becomes sterile and pathogen free – the perfect fertilizer for gardens and parks within the area.
The initiative has dramatically transformed the area. Before it was introduced in 2013, 33 businesses in the area produced approximately 1,500 pounds of food waste per day.
Melanie Ashe, president of the city precinct, commented on the progress:
“Before the recycling it was … not the best, shall we say?”
The education has been enormous [in the district]. People think about waste now,” she added.
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