Converting food waste into organic manure in apartment buildings

Almost 40% of Australia’s food waste typically ends up in landfills. However, in high-rise buildings with many apartments, the use of machines to transform and reuse these organic wastes is already being tested. If the trial is successful, these devices could become the new norm, alongside regular trash cans, for city center residents.

Luisa and her daughter are bringing leftovers to the communal machine in their apartment building.

The new device, called a dehydrator, can once and for all solve the problem of bad smell in the environment.

“It’s fantastic because we don’t have any place for garbage here,” says Luisa.

Luisa thus uses the industrial dehydrator that crushes, heats and processes up to 100 kg of food waste for each process.

“We can reduce the amount of food waste by 80-85%”, says Helen Steel, executive director of the company “EcoGuardians”.

The dehydrator is one of six such devices installed in Melbourne apartment buildings, as part of efforts to keep food waste from ending up in landfills.

In Australia, about 40% of organic waste ends up in trash, and most of it comes from high-rise buildings that don’t have much green space.

“The new test is being done for the first time in Australia. 84% of residents in our city live in high-rise buildings and to solve the waste problem in the city of Melbourne we need to focus on high-rises,” says Melbourne Mayor Sally Capp.

Australia has over 368,000 high-rise residential towers and 14% of the country’s population lives in apartments.

In Australia’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, the rate of people living in apartments is 22 and 12 percent.

Luisa and her family of four live on the 8th floor of a 21-story building.

Food waste used to end up in the regular trash can. The trial changed that completely.

“It’s very easy, you just put it inside, close the door and the device works by itself”, explains Luisa.

The final product of the dehydration and recycling process is an organic fertilizer that can be used by residents in green spaces and in the garden.

And this means that no food waste will ever end up in landfills.

“So we are trying to create a complete solution,” says Mrs. Steel.

The recycling process in the dehydrator takes about eight hours and the device accepts most organic waste.

The process is much faster than decomposition.

If this $205,000 trial is successful, local authorities say they will expand the use of this system.

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