"That was someone's breakfast two weeks ago!"
- 25 April 2008
- Company & Industry News
The multi-award winning Canolfan Conway Centre is coming to the end of a three year on-site food waste recycling trial that has proved to be highly successful. The 420-bed residential education centre, one of the largest in the UK, installed an A700 Rocket® In-Vessel Composter from Cheshire based manufacturers Accelerated Compost Ltd to process the food waste from around 1,000 meals a day and in October 2007 the Centre was awarded the Environmental Management System Award for the Public Sector in the Welsh Sustainability Awards.
The process towards a more sustainable centre began in 2003 with an invitation by John Pearson, then a part of Cheshire County Council's Environmental Planning Department, to carry out an Eco Audit resulting in an action plan going forward from 2004.
Paul Southall, Buildings and Environmental Supervisor, "Changes were made in the Centre's tuck shop to reduce unrecyclable waste and initiatives were set up through the kitchen suppliers to provide recyclable packaging on all food items where possible. The kitchens have a lot to deal with averaging 1,100 covers a day. This is around the same amount produced in an average secondary school."
On-Site Food Waste Processing
All food waste is put into sealed containers by the kitchen team and three times each day this waste is put into the Rocket® by the Maintenance & Groundworks team. In 2006 4,235 litres of food waste was processed through the Rocket®.
"The Rocket® composter is fabulous. Prior to the sewage rationalisation process carried out on the entire site and the Rocket® being installed the BOD readings for material being released into the Menai Straits was around 7000. Since then it has dropped to 260 and we have saved an astonishing £1400 a year on emptying the grease traps and £660 a year on emptying the settlement tanks. A further £2200 is saved every year due to the addition of a food waste dewaterer, used prior to the composting process. Along with the reduction in waste disposal costs and purchasing costs for compost materials the Rocket® has paid for itself in the three years since the installation," Paul enthuses.
These achievements have not been overlooked by external agencies and the Conway Centre has been awarded FEE Eco Centre status, Level 4 Green Dragon (Arena Network) and in October 2007 the Centre won the Environmental Management System Award for the Public Sector in the Welsh Sustainability Awards.
Paul explains, "This is a Whole Life system that provides an outstanding teaching tool for visitors to the Centre. All 70 staff at the centre are local people committed to recycling more and becoming more sustainable. Visitors can easily compare the experience they have in terms of managing waste and energy resources here at the centre with their experiences back at their schools allowing them to take positive ideas back home to make worthwhile contributions in their own communities in the future.
"We are now at the end of the final year of a three year study and if the Rocket® didn't work it would be going back to the manufacturers. But it does work. We are closer to achieving our sewage treatment targets having seen the BOD readings drop so dramatically, we have saved money on waste collections, and it provides a useful product - compost - that has been used over the past three years to plant more than 1000 trees on our 160 acre site. We are one of the largest employers on the island and our site is of prehistoric importance, it seems only natural to preserve the future after working for so long to preserve the past. The Conway Centre has provided the ideal pilot scheme for testing this system of food waste management and if it works here it can work in every school in the country."
Making the utility/recycling area accessible to the children who visit the centre has increased their awareness of the consequences of producing waste and the environmental benefits of recycling.
Paul concludes, "It's great to see the visitors faces when they see the compost and are told, ‘that was someone's breakfast two weeks ago!' It really brings the process home to them."
A700 ROCKET® IN-VESSEL COMPOSTER
The mid-range A700 is capable of processing up to 700 litres of mixed food waste per week. Thermostatically controlled to ensure temperatures greater than 65°C are maintained for more than 2 days the average power consumption is as little as 70kwh per week. Fully automatic and measuring 3m long by 0.9m wide and 1.6m high the A700 is probably one of the most versatile small scale in-vessel composting systems currently in use in the UK.
The Rocket® In-vessel Composter is manufactured and distributed through Accelerated Compost Ltd. Head Office in Cheshire and representatives in Perthshire, East Sussex, County Wexford and Worcester ensure UK-wide distribution and prompt after sales service. The Rocket® is currently being used as a solution to the food waste disposal problem for small scale commercial and industrial applications throughout the UK from Community Composters to Schools and Colleges, Hotels, Restaurants and Estates.
For further details:
Accelerated Compost Ltd
01260 222 942