Tag Archives: The Eco-Safe Digester

There is Quite a Bit of Energy in Bananas

school compost

As school starts back up in a just a few weeks, the children at Public School 30 on Staten Island will once again be asked to dump their uneaten bananas into a bin in the back of their cafeteria.

New York City’s school composting program, kicked off just two years ago, is now in 230 school buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, and is expected to more than double in size and reach all five boroughs in the fall, with an ultimate goal of encompassing all 1,300-plus school buildings.

The sad voyage of fruits and vegetables from lunch lady to landfill has frustrated parents, nutritionists and environmentalists for decades. Children are still as picky and wasteful as ever, but at least there is now a happier ending — that banana-filled bin is a composting container, part of a growing effort to shrink the mountains of perfectly good food being hauled away to trash heaps every year.

Much of food waste stream is a result of nutrition rules that require every child to be served healthy food, and health rules that ban re-serving unwrapped food once it has been placed on a lunch tray, for fear of contamination.

Depending on where the school is, the uneaten and half-eaten leftovers are sent to a compost heap at a former Staten Island landfill or 123 miles away to Delaware. The 123 mile trip is far too long of a trip to turn the food waste into compost, so the city will begin sending some of those scraps to a wastewater treatment plant in Brooklyn, where “digesters” will turn garbage into usable gas.

The Eco-Safe Digester offers two additional benefits to this proposed solution at the Brooklyn facility, eliminating the logistical nightmares with transporting the scraps by pre-sorting and pre-digesting the food waste into a liquid and providing key data to help guide changes to future nutrition rules.

Depending on viewpoint, the sheer amount of school food now being composted is either impressive or depressing not to mention the transportation-related energy consumption, the economics of transportation, and the environmental impacts surrounding composting.

The hope is that by diverting the waste from landfill, the city will help the environment, instill a sense of conservation in schoolchildren and, critically, save some money. The city currently pays $93 per ton to dump in landfills.

The idea of sending scraps to local wastewater treatment facilities to where “digesters” will turn the food waste into useable gas sounds far less complicated, more economical, and a better option for the environment.

Revolutionize Your Waste Service

recycle food waste

From a business perspective, there is an enormous opportunity to save money with a proper organics management process.   Large volumes of food waste are disposed of each day, which is why when organics are managed and then analyzed great opportunities abound.

Governments are finally recognizing that in order to achieve success with their ambitious recycling goals those goals must include organics.

States like Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island, and cities like New York City are going about it the right way, by focusing more on the commercial end where the most tonnage is.

There will be challenges that will need to be overcome. The marketplace for the landfill-diverted waste is immature, recovery sites are not widespread and in some cases virtually non-existent. Government laws and regulations are inconsistent, and collection, processing and marketing aren’t as well thought out as they should be.

For those states and cities forging forward alternate disposal methods need to be sought out. The Eco-Safe Digester is a reliable and easy-to-operate aerobic digester that eliminates food waste on-site. It requires no third party to dispose of the food waste, requires no on-road transportation, and more importantly is the only diversion solution that delivers information about what is wasted in order to prevent it altogether.

While there is not one solution that will work for everyone, companies should be shopping around for an end-to-end solution that works best for them. In the meantime infrastructure development will likely start picking up speed because of the effects of the recent government policy decisions.

Myth or Fact?

myth

Debunking the Myth of a Wastewater Recovery Threat

With the development of any new product come those who fear potential risks. In the case of the Eco-Safe Digester, many worry about the extra burden of adding 100 gallons of liquefied nutrient-neutral grey water per day to the sewer system and the impact that this new waste disposal strategy will have on Water Resource Recovery Centers (formerly known as Wastewater Treatment Facilities). Despite these concerns, the actual implementation of the Eco-Safe Digester will not have any negative effects on these facilities nor add any extra burden to their process.

The Eco-Safe Digester does add more “waste” to the entire system; however it is in the form of a pre-filtered, pre-processed liquid effluent containing no solids – resulting in a quicker output of energy and potable water.

Once the effluent from the Eco-Safe Digester goes down the drain to the water resource recovery centers, it has to go through the same 6-step process as the rest of the wastewater.  It all begins with a preliminary step, where the water is pre-screened to remove large items – since the effluent is already void of any large items it quickly moves through this step.  The water is then transported by gravity into primary settling tanks, where some of the grit and scum is separated to form primary sludge. The water then moves on to the aeration step where the water is exposed to air by means of fine bubble diffusers, removing the dissolved gases (this is the step in which energy is removed from gases emerging from the water).  Then, the wastewater moves on to sedimentation tanks, where more of the organic portion of the sludge is removed and processed in digestion tanks. After removal, sludge solid is kept in heated tanks for 30 days resulting in the creation of fertilizer. Finally, the solid-free water is released into a ‘chlorine contact’ tank, intended to kill off the remaining bacteria. As the bacteria dies off, the chlorine is eliminated, resulting in safe, potable water. After this step, the water is then released into lakes or oceans, or is able to go back to the faucets of the public. It is this robust process that has worked for many years turning sewage waste into NEW water.

If not for the recycling actions of these water resource recovery centers, there would be excessive amounts of soiled water concentrated in towns and cities, contaminating soil and ruining ecosystems. If not for the Eco-Safe Digester, more and more food waste would continue to pile up in landfills, contributing to the release of harmful gases such as methane into the atmosphere.

Both businesses work in harmony to recycle our garbage into a reusable and useful product, protect both the environment and ensure the public’s health/safety.  Therefore, there would be no logical reason as to why technology like the Eco-Safe Digester would work to undermine the Resource Recovery Centers.