Deakin University – 2017 Green Gown Awards: Closing the Loop – A Solution to Organic Waste

twenty-one times more greenhouse
gas emissions than general waste. Partnership was with
Future Proofing Geelong, CSIRO, and the Geelong Manufacturing Council
and Deakin University. It was a three month trial to better understand how we can divert
food waste from landfill. Once the food waste is collected
by the kitchen and the restaurant staff, they then bring it out
to the Closed Loop System, and empty the bucket
into the system. With a mix of agitation, microbiology
and also temperature, within a 24-hour period
the food waste turns into a beautiful, nutrient-rich
soil conditioner. It’s then simply emptied
from the Closed Loop system, just taken meters away
to our organic kitchen garden, and put in the garden
to help produce the fruit and vegetables that then go back into the kitchen. We’re educating not just the staff,
but also the guests about what we do with sustainability.
I think we also, we have a mindset,
but we deliver tangible evidence, and people can see what we’re doing
with our food waste. There were couple of
unexpected learnings from the trial. The first one was that people
were very willing to be a part of it and to change their behaviour. The other part that was surprising was that it was
more of a focus on other waste. So better recycling practices happened, and a nose-to-tail focus
within the kitchen became greater. So from this venue alone we used
to have 24 tonnes of general waste. We found that half of that could be
diverted because it was food waste. And we also found that up to eight tonnes
of green gases can be reduced per year. What we’re now trying to look at
and analyze is how we implement a precinct-scale model
to better suit our large campuses. Deakin is a microcosm of all of society,
so we’ve got to make sure that we bring all of the environmental
impacts of sustainability, the economic impacts, and the social impacts, and bring them all together in a way that makes sense for us
to be sustainable for the future.

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