Recycling Alternative’s On-site composting technology is a game-changer.
Co-founder Louise Schwarz, Co-founder Robert Weatherbe
Written by Intengine in partnership with Recycling Alternative
Government regulations are showing an interest in responsible waste management
Across many industries, government regulations are offering a little push to fill the gap between showing an interest in responsible waste management and ensuring action is taken. Rising to the challenge of eco-responsibility in the workplace, businesses are looking to find efficient, cost-effective, and trouble-free ways to compost, separate waste, and minimize the amount of waste produced.
The challenge of keeping landfills clear of unnecessary or damaging solid waste materials was a galvanizing motivator for Louise Schwarz, Vancouver co-founder of Recycling Alternative. Joined with Robert Weatherbe, what started out of the back of a hatchback collecting paper discards is now a thriving for-profit business employing a fleet of trucks hosting innovative technologies to aid the goal of a zero-waste future.
Current challenges need current solutions managing food waste in urban areas
Current challenges need current solutions, and it is here where Recycling Alternative’s dedication to innovation has really seen its stride. The current concern of discussion is managing food waste in urban areas where the composting process is necessary to transform the organics we discard into nitrogen-rich materials we can repurpose.
Schwarz and Weatherbe started to see this as an opportunity, as they did many times before, finding a machine that could speed up the process and make it easier to redistribute the valuable nutrients to a compost site.
It seems counterintuitive. Food scraps decompose and should be harmless. According to Weatherbe, “When food scraps are sent to landfill they take up valuable space and break down over a long period of time, releasing huge amounts of methane gas. It essentially closes the loop on all of the nutrients they contain." There is simply a better option.
In 2015, when Metro Vancouver officially introduced a ban on food waste to landfills, there was a need for waste management companies to expand into food waste management, but composting requires a fair bit of know-how.
The Solution: A customized on-site aerobic composter
Enter New technology: A customized on-site aerobic composter by Recycling Alternative and set up in companies that produce a lot of food waste. Think malls, airports, universities, stadiums, convention centres, and hospitals.
Composting takes time. It can be messy and produce odors as the food decomposes. But if food material is dehydrated in a controlled manner it becomes densified. It can be stored for longer periods of time and be efficiently transported to a commercial composting site. The machine filters out moisture from the organic materials and uses a venting system. The machines have a built-in bio-filter to manage the odour.
"There's no water used in the system and no wastewater is discharged into the sewer systems," explains Weatherbe. This makes it a conscious machine that is taking toxins out of our water cycle, unlike landfill solutions.
In a nutshell, "The technology dehydrates material and turns it to compost, greatly reducing material volume in 24 hours. "We now provide these machines, customized for our clients, to turn wet food waste into a dry residual, partially composted material,” says Weatherbe.
Such uses of technology make it clear that preventing harm, limiting damage is no longer the goal. Looking for ways to restore is the new goal. The path to a circular economy is being paved one eco solution at a time by visionaries who are working with raw and recycling materials to understand them on multiple levels.
Tags: waste management, composting, circular economy