Managing a Mulititude of Food Waste at Festival Place

Mechline’s Waste2O organic food waste bio-digester is gobbling up the waste from 28 busy restaurants and other retail outlets at Festival Place in Basingstoke and the kitchen solutions expert is coming in for high praise for its client commitment, back up and service. 

Billed as much more than a shopping centre, Festival Place offers visitors a choice of over 160 big brands and 28 restaurants, bars and cafes plus a 10-screen cinema.

Alongside the restaurant outlets there are also food retailers like Tesco and Iceland who all share a common need – the sustainable and cost effective disposal of organic food waste. 

Gary Cooper, Centre Manager at Festival Place, was tasked in 2012 with finding an alternative to sending the food waste generated by the centre to the incinerator at nearby Chineham. 

Looking forward, for Cooper and his employers, it was never an option to send the waste to landfill – escalating costs, environmental concerns and pressure from the Government to find ways of diverting more food waste out of the residual waste stream firmly ruled that out.

After researching the various options available to him, and following an exploratory foray to Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol where Mechline’s Waste2O organic food waste bio-digester system had been installed, he decided this was the way to go.  

Waste2O is entirely silent in operation as the naturally occurring bacteria quietly gets to work digesting the food and turning it into water. Cooper was impressed by how Waste2O used enzymes to totally digest organic food waste and turn it to grey water that can harmlessly run down the drain for subsequent recycling by the local water authority. 

The decision was taken to install three Waste2O units, and Cooper set about planning how this would work with the outlets in Festival Place. He soon came up with a system that involved 300 x 25 litre buckets and a golf buggy.

Every morning a member of the Festival Place waste management team drives the buggy and distributes buckets to the outlets, returning later to pick up the waste and take it to the Waste2O shed. There it is fed at a rate of no more than 20kg into each machine every two hours. The machines usually operate 24 hours a day.

Restaurants were instructed on how to separate the waste so that only organic food waste is put into the buckets for the Waste2O, while other waste is separated by the Festival Place team for selling on.

Basingstoke Council’s Recycling Officer recently attended a Recycling Day at Festival Place as part of the Council’s Green Week and Mechline’s Marketing Manager Kristian Roberts was on hand to explain to visitors how the shopping centre’s Waste2O system works.

Robertssays: “Mechline’s Waste2O food waste bio-digester is a simple and scalable solution which can handle any quantity of soft food waste and digest it onsite meaning you are left with no collection or landfill charges for the food waste that Waste2O digests. 

Mechline Waste2O has the capacity to efficiently dispose of up to 180kg of soft, organic food waste, converting it to water in under 24 hours. This safe disposal of the waste water to drain allows local water treatment plants to reclaim the water and return it to the environment. 

Mechline has recently taken the principles of food waste one step further by developing the Food Waste Reduction Programme that highlights clearly and simply how to prevent food waste and reduce the amount going to landfill. The concept illustrates how food waste can be better managed and reduced in a circular way often times by reducing food wastage at source.

Find out more about the Waste20.

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