Category Archives: Technology

How to Solve the Food Waste Problem at its Root

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Food waste is a problem across the globe. From North America to Europe and as far east as Asia, many countries are having difficulty solving this complex problem because waste occurs all along the supply chain. Because a number of states in the U.S and Europe believe that they can have the most impact on adjusting what happens at the retail level, they are steering policy towards the diversion of the waste from landfills and supporting the use of any disposal solution that encourages the prevention of the waste.

In the past few years, many states in the U.S. have started passing food waste ban legislation where supermarkets, restaurants and other establishments generating significant amounts of food waste are required to either donate to those in need or dispose of the waste through methods such as composting, anaerobic or aerobic digestion but only a few of those legislative endeavors bravely suggest that accurate diversion data is as important as the diversion itself.

BioHiTech originally saw an opportunity in the food waste sector as a simple digestion solution that would offer a more cost-effective, environmentally sustainable way to dispose of food waste on-site. After applying advanced technology and machine learning to the digester, we recognized an even greater value to our customers in prevention. When you accurately measure and categorize food waste our customers have access to that data in real time that can be used to make informed decisions impacting food needs and affecting and reducing waste along the supply chain.

Measuring and understanding food waste is one of the most important steps to preventing food waste, and at BioHiTech we are continuing to find new and innovative ways to fix this global problem.

 

The Smarter Kitchen

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Choosing the right piece of equipment is crucial to the success of any restaurant, including waste disposal equipment, but facility managers must be wary, as equipment is no longer created equal. “Smart” connected products are going to transform the industrial equipment marketplace, will deliver the most business value, and have the largest impact. With restaurant management extending around the world, the need for these smart connected products are in great demand.

Powered by the Internet of Things, BioHiTech’s Revolution Series™ Digesters apply sensor technology, which enables the simple on-site food waste solution to capture a digital representation of the food waste volume in addition to the machine’s usage, performance, and status. The Digester’s Internet connectivity then enables the company and its customers the ability to communicate directly with the machine in order to manage and optimize its “smart” potential.

According to a study conducted by the University of Arizona, the average amount of purchased food that is wasted in a full-service restaurant is 11.3 percent making the management of cost of goods ongoing – every hour, every shift, every day, every week.

The Digester’s unique connective device provides the essential up-to-date, easy-to-access waste data 24/7/365 so that corrective actions can be taken proactively when necessary, improvements can be made to supply chain management for repeated success and work processes and waste reductions can be achieved routinely.

After the process of weighing each increment of waste to qualify its type and origin, the digester can eliminate as little as 100 pounds and as much as 2,400 pounds of food waste in a 24-hour period, depending on customer needs, by utilizing mechanical and biological treatment to convert the food waste into a liquid that is safely discharged through standard sewers.

The Digesters’ data is transmitted to the Company’s analytics cloud platform where the data is collected in real-time and also preserved historically so that trends can be analyzed and predicted. Knowing precisely what is being thrown away allows for the optimization of vendor and supplier orders to reduce the quantity of food waste planned for and received. Key metrics are also measured to help restaurant management be more efficient and effective with their labor, sales and ultimately disposal process.

Digitization also ensures ongoing compliance. Manual recording and associated documentation can now be replaced by fully automated methods and 24/7 access to reporting at your fingertips.

While most on-site food waste disposal solutions are expensive and designed for high volume users, BioHiTech’s Revolution Series targets low volume users, requires minimal floor space and has rapid throughput enabling the cost of use to be much lower than traditional waste disposal.

The next few years will be bringing monumental shifts to the industry to help to curtail waist and dispose of what is left in a more cost-effective manner. Choosing the right equipment will offer the process change necessary to accelerate smarter solutions and outcomes.

 

Maximizing the Value of Food Waste

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Tapping into the value of food waste reporting provides vital information to more directly answer 6 key questions: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How Much. Without these basic questions answered there is no way to fully understand the problem in order to make informed decisions needed to deliver better operational, environmental and financial outcomes for your business.

BioHiTech’s cloud platform serves up real-time food waste data collected from our on-site technology solution, the Eco-Safe Digester, quantifying food waste in a fashion that has historically not been available. Our platform invites customers to observe the food waste generation habits of their employees and the overall process to uncover who, what, why, when, where and how much waste is being created.

There is a good chance that your inefficient waste process does not answer any of the above key questions and that your problems fall into one or more of these buckets.

There are significant operational, environmental and financial payoffs when collecting, managing and analyzing food waste data. Without the detailed data it is easy to fall into the trap of addressing the wrong issue and missing out on an opportunity to prevent the waste all together.

It’s All About The Data

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In the waste industry, a key criticism is the lack of data or, where data does exist, a lack of accurate information. For example, almost all operations have no idea how much waste they have, what kind of waste it is, how to prevent the waste, and where the waste goes.

In recent years the conversation regarding the need and importance of data has evolved tremendously. About five years ago responses were mixed, with some expressing how important data was, while others indicated they had a hard time seeing how the additional information might benefit their operations.

In contrast, today it is rare to come across someone who isn’t interested in or doesn’t see the value that good data can bring to their operation.

The data, however, continues to be hard to get a hold of but if you are one of the lucky ones, the data you are receiving can vary from asset management to tracking utilization to understanding how many pounds are being managed to determining waste composition. The list goes on. The point is that there is a strong push to acquire data and exploit the knowledge gained to evaluate everything from internal efficiencies to potential competition.

There was always some interest in this before, but what seems to have qualitatively changed is that there is now the ability to easily acquire accurate data from none other than the Eco-Safe Digester. This on-site technology that was originally manufactured to eliminate food waste has been collecting waste data via the cloud for more than two years. Eco-Safe Digester customers are receiving data in ways they’ve never seen before.

The level of data continues to grow from once only seeing the pounds diverted and dollars saved from the traditional and compost costs to now understanding what’s happening internally in each department, by each employee and from one location to the other. The information acquired now allows a company to understand its place in the world, evaluate trends, and save more money.

As data acquisition and availability increases, operations will be able to incorporate this corporate-specific data in their operations, forecasting and business development activities.

Additionally, Ec0-Safe Digester customers as well as the public and potential investors are looking to this data to gauge what is happening with the waste that is generated and how users adjust their behavior to prevent it altogether.

Because the data is accurately measured on-site and streamed simultaneously to a secure platform its credibility is not an issue. BioHitech America represents that the data is not skewed or flawed in any way as decisions are made based on this information.

The importance of accurate data is critical as it can spell the success or failure of any sustainability project, something BioHitech America takes very seriously.

Portions of this story was previously published on May 4, 2015 in Waste 360 and written by Bryan Staley. Bryan Staley, P.E., is president of the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, a non-profit research organization that represents the entire industry and has been working to aggregate credible and reliable industry-wide data.