The Delhi Township Department of Public Services has acquired a new food waste depackager that will help expand the township’s innovative Recovering Food Waste as Energy program. The new equipment will improve efficiency and allow the township to divert more food waste from local landfills.
“Our new food waste depackager expedites the process of turning waste into fuel that can be used to reduce operational costs at the wastewater treatment plant,” said Sandra Diorka, director of the Delhi Township Department of Public Services. “Our new, more efficient process allows us to recycle more food waste and expand our partnership with Holt Public Schools. We are excited to teach more students about how properly recycling food waste helps the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses.
Delhi Township has been diverting food waste from landfills since 2010. However, until now, employees had to manually separate the food waste from non-food items such as paper, styrofoam, plastic straws and other packaging materials. This limited the amount of food waste the township was able to process and divert from landfills.
The food waste depackager uses automation to both save time and increase capacity by separating food and non-food items. Once separated, the waste is ground and added to the township’s anaerobic digester, which turns the waste into methane gas. The methane gas is then used to power the wastewater treatment process.
In 2012, the township introduced a pilot program in partnership with Holt Public Schools’ Horizon Elementary, that engaged students in the food-recycling process. Special food-recycling disposal bins were placed in the cafeteria during lunch and students were shown how to separate their food waste from non-food items headed for the local landfill at the end of lunch.
The pilot initially expanded to Holt High School, Washington Woods Middle School and Sycamore Elementary. With the township’s new depackager, all Holt Public Schools will participate in the program this fall.
“Our longstanding partnership with the township on the Recovering Food Waste as Energy program has done a lot to teach students about the importance of properly discarding their unwanted food,” said Dr. David Hornak, Holt Public Schools superintendent. “This program started as a pilot project when I was principal of Horizon Elementary and I am proud of how it has grown over the years. I am excited all of our schools can now participate in this amazing program.”
In addition to the partnership with Holt Public Schools, the township also provides alternative waste disposal services to the Dimondale Nursing Care Facility, Great Lakes Christian Homes, the Holt Food Bank, the Ingham County Animal Control and the Capital Area Humane Society.
“I applaud Sandra and the entire Department of Public Services team for working diligently to improve the innovative Recovering Food Waste as Energy program and increase our capacity to provide this service for local groups like Holt Public Schools,” said Tracy Miller, Delhi Township manager. “We are a regional leader in alternative waste disposal and our new food waste depackager will help ensure that track record of success continues for years to come.”