Solutions arriving in war on food waste

Posted by Lani Thorpe on 27th August 2018

THE war on waste trend is now a commercial imperative for many businesses, offering market advantage to those able signal themselves as progressives.

This is no more evident than in the war’s battle on food waste, where innovation is rushing forward to provide commercial solutions to food service outlets keen to “fight” in the battle and attract consumers sympathetic to the cause.      

FOOD scraps and leftovers are bypassing landfill and getting a second calling thanks to a clever new recycling technology.

The Bio-Regen is a machine that grinds up food waste and combines it with water and a microbial inoculant that ferments to produce a potent bio-fertiliser for soil.

Townsville-based company VRM has developed and patented the Bio-Regen, which is currently being used by James Cook University to recycle up to a tonne of food waste from its kitchens each week.

JCU environment manager Adam Connell told ABC News the uni was searching for a cost-effective alternative to transporting the waste to landfill.

“It was costing a huge amount of money to send this food to landfill and we said ‘there’s got to be a better way to do this’.

“So, we spoke to VRM … and they had been looking to trial this process throughout South East Asia … and we said we’d like to have a go at the university,” Mr Connell said.


Also this edition of Australian Food News


VRM collects the fermented fertiliser and sells it on to farmers who are willing to pay around $200 per tonne for the product.

Meanwhile, another waste-munching machine is doing good in Melbourne by using microorganisms to convert food scraps to wastewater.

Likened to a ‘mechanical stomach’, the Orca aerobic digestion system, distributed exclusively in Australia by US company Totally Green, has spent the past year churning through 62 tonnes of food waste to produce greywater destined for the sewer.

Greywater — wastewater generated in households or buildings that has no fecal contaminant — is encouraged for reuse in urban water systems to reduce the need for fresh water, which in turn results in cheaper water bills.

Melbourne CBD cafes

Installed in Melbourne CBD’s Degraves Street cafe precinct in May 2017, the Orca is fed scraps including fruit, vegies, grains, dairy and proteins from surrounding food outlets to reduce the environmental impact of local businesses.

It’s an issue that’s been gaining attention as awareness around food waste grows.

According to the Australian Government, food waste is estimated to cost the national economy around $20 billion each year, with Australian consumers throwing away around 3.1 million tonnes of edible food per year and the commercial and industrial sector adding another 2.2 million tonnes to the heap.