Updated 02/15/2013 08:05 PM
Machine helps lessen food waste at Triad university
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GREENSBORO — A new piece of technology is helping Guilford College keep 100 percent of its food waste out of area landfills.
The food waste digester works like a mechanical stomach breaking down food and turning it into liquid. This is just another way the school is working to lessen its impact on the environment.
Everyday hundreds of students fill their plates in the Guilford College dining hall. Inevitably, some of it gets thrown out.
“We've been composting for years, but we've found that we generate so much food waste that sometimes we can't make good compost,” said Guilford Dining Retail and Sustainability Manager Chris Blain.
That's why school leaders are teaming up with employees at Waste Industries, and utilizing a new piece of technology called the food waste digester.
“It just churns it and every once in awhile the microbes are ingested. Just think of it like Pac Man, the old Pac Man machine. They're just constantly eating and constantly looking for stuff to eat,” said Waste Industries General Manager Roger Marcum.
That includes paper products like napkins. When it's all said and done, what is left is liquid which can go down the drain.
“That particular machine you can put up to 600 pounds of food waste in it, per day, and in 24 hours, it is gone,” said Marcum.
“We actually keep track of the amount of food waste we have each day and we show the students that number. So in addition to diverting it from the landfill, we can help them control how much each plate is wasting,” said Blain.
Since the new technology has been installed they've been able to save about 9,000 pounds a month from going into area landfills.
The equipment is manufactured in North Carolina. Guilford College is one of the first universities in the state to use the technology.