Wasting time in commercial kitchens

The waste treatment process in a commercial kitchen may not be one of the first priorities on a dealer’s or end user’s list, but nevertheless it is vital that a suitable system is specified to assure hygiene.

According to Martin Allen, project manager at First Choice Environmental Solutions: “As many catering locations often underestimate the actual levels of food waste they generate, it is extremely important that they choose equipment that can handle any requirement with ease.

“Consumption capability is key, as is the ability to handle all food waste including bone and rough organics – this will reduce the need for waste separation. Changes to a location’s menu can often affect the amount and type of food waste produced, so it is important operators choose a system that provides true flexibility.”

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First Choice feels that it offers just such a system, in the form of Enviropure. The company is aiming to make operators, foodservice consultants, UK dealers and buying groups aware of the product through a programme of informative communication, including testimonies, empirical evidence and attending exhibitions.

“Perhaps the most important feature of the Enviropure food waste elimination system is that it is a bespoke product,” detailed Allen.

“Units are total on-site solutions that are designed and manufactured to fit in the available footprint of the particular site and to handle the individual food waste requirements of each location.

"They can be batch, or continuously fed during operational periods and can also handle food from a single kitchen, or from multiple kitchens in one location.

“Units require no food separation, as they handle all food waste including bone and rough organics. The system and all the natural biomix used to accelerate the decomposition process produces grey water that is just 10mg/l away from being able to be sent to field filtration. [[page-break]]

"The range offers a solution for every kind of facility, as systems can be designed to handle food waste requirements ranging from 54kg up to 6,000kg a day.”

Last year the Enviropure range was expanded to include the Ozone system option. The system is said to enable treated grey water to be re-circulated, reducing the need for a fresh water supply and overall water consumption.

Over at Mechline, marketing manager, Kristian Roberts feels that waste isn’t just about the end product, but also the time, energy, resource, money and space that could be wasted by implementing the wrong solution.

“Dealers must consider not only short, but long-term implications of the solution, any future plans the kitchen might have or any problems from the past, when it comes to waste,” he commented.

He suggested that space constraints, hygiene and labour costs are key factors in deciding which treatment system is suitable. “By opting for an alternative on-site solution such as the Waste2O food bio-digester there is no need to store food waste, freeing up space which can be better utilised. The food can be collected and loaded into the machine for treatment at once,” he said.

“The unit can process all preparation, plate waste and spoiled items of food together, saving time as they do not need separating. Environmental impact is also reduced as all food waste is managed on-site.”

Roberts believes that food waste collections simply move the waste to landfill without solving the initial problem, while a macerator just chops up the waste and pushes it into pipework and drains, thus pushing the problem further along the waste disposal chain.

“Investing in a machine which digests the food waste on site, such as the Waste 2O, solves the problem in its entirety at the first stage, at site. Food waste is digested into waste water overnight and is safely released into the drain network.” [[page-break]]

He is taking Mechline’s message to the market via trade shows, membership events and conferences, and also touring one of its units to demonstrate to dealers.

“We offer full training to dealers, on-site or at our Mechline premises to help them understand the operational aspects and full capabilities of the Waste2O. We have a secure website portal where those who have attended training can log-in for supporting material and refresher video tutorials,” revealed Roberts.

“Each dealer has an area sales representative who they can regularly contact for advice and support with a sale of the Waste2O, and we carry out trials at sites including charities, hospitals and education establishments.”

The firm’s Waste2O has gained Water Research Centre (WRc) approval, for which it had to be subjected to a series of technical tests. One Waste2O module is designed to digest up to 180kg of organic food waste and turns it into waste water over a 24-hour period.

“There are no limits to the amount of Waste2O modules which can be installed, meaning Waste2O is a truly scalable solution to food waste issues,” commented Roberts.

Elsewhere, Meiko UK’s MD, Bill Downie believes: “End users are usually not aware of the technology available to handle food waste and need to understand the cost benefits, including space saving, of installing a food waste handling system.

“There are a number of systems on the market and the key issue is to choose a reliable and proven method of food waste handling, from a supplier who can offer product expertise. Testimonial feedback to potential customers on the performance and cost savings to be made should be sought from existing users.”

Meiko UK supplies, installs and maintains a range of food waste handling equipment, varying from bench-mounted macerating units to freestanding GTS-Series systems that macerate and pump food waste through a 75mm pipe directly into remotely sited mobile bins or sealed tanks. [[page-break]]

One Meiko customer, Nick Howe, MD of Court Catering Equipment commented: “The Meiko GTS Food Waste Removal System has become a key part of our product portfolio, and whilst not suitable for all catering outlets, with a bit of creative thinking the GTS can be a solution for many.”

The manufacturer has a number of existing reference sites in hotels and restaurants and also offers training in its dedicated facility. “All of our regional managers are fully conversant with the entire Meiko range and are there to give advice on the best system for the job,” added Downie.

The GTS System is claimed to offer simple installation and tried and tested macerating units, consisting of the GTS food waste processor itself, 75mm food waste transfer pipe and either a fibreglass bin enclosure housing three mobile 240litre bins, or a larger capacity storage tank.

Meiko has also recently introduced the WasteStar CC, a compact system for collecting, processing and storing food waste.

Downie detailed: “Requiring minimal space and manpower, the WasteStar CC inlet is situated in kitchens and wash-up areas and comprises a cutting mechanism to grind and chop the food waste into fine particles, easily transportable through the 50mm diameter pipe network to the food waste holding tank.

“WasteStar CC is simple and relatively quick to install and can fit smoothly into an existing set-up and workflow. It can be incorporated into the feeding sections of large dishwashers, or operate as a stand-alone inlet. Additionally, no waste water connection is required and with WasteStar CC there is no need for an integral cooling system.”

Another new product on the market is IMC’s WasteStation CR (Compact Remote), which the firm believes gives the end user and kitchen designer more flexibility when considering waste management options.

The Compact Remote allows a smaller footprint macerator and pump system to be installed into the kitchen and then the waste can be pumped for dewatering in a location outside the kitchen environment – this can be up to 180ft from the main inlet macerator installed in the kitchen. [[page-break]]

This inlet station has a 2.2kW macerator, capable of handling organic material such as bones, shellfish and fruit peelings.

This month, an additional autofeed option will be launched. This will enable the end user to load all the food waste into a hopper at once, at the end of each sitting.

Once the hopper is full and the system is started, the staff do not have stand by the unit to operate it, as with the standard option.

According to IMC’s MD, Steve Witt: “Not only does this system reduce operating times, energy and water consumption by up to 66%, but it also frees up labour within the kitchen.”

He believes that for a waste management solution, how the end user operates, how many covers and what type of food waste is being generated as well as the environmental impact of such a system need to be considered.

“The cost is also a factor when return on investment figures can make certain systems unattractive. Some systems on the market have limitations as to the type and quantity of waste the system can take on a daily basis.

"Regional legislation is also a large factor when deciding which system to operate; systems such as digesters have restrictions in many countries around the world.”

Witt feels that dealers need to be aware of their customers’ needs as well as local legislation, as this will determine whether a solution can be used or not.

“Knowledge, training and honesty from the manufacturers to the dealers is key. This knowledge can then be passed on to the operators to choose the right system for their business needs,” he commented.

“IMC systems can be tailored to the customer’s needs. Where there are kitchen limitations the IMC product range can be selected to meet these requirements.

"The IMC dewatering systems have all the benefits of our 60 years of manufacturing food waste solutions which are exported to 110 countries around the world.”

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