Tonnes of food waste from the kitchen at Epworth Geelong is being converted to compost, reducing landfill and greenhouse gas emissions. In the longer-term, waste will be used to power local homes.
Epworth Geelong is the first hospital in regional Australia to install a Wastemaster food waste dehydrator, which removes 80 per cent of water from kitchen waste.
Executive General Manager Epworth Geelong, Leonie Lloyd, said Epworth wants to champion sustainable hospital practices.
“We completed an independent sustainability audit at Epworth Geelong, which found one of the biggest contributors to our carbon emissions was food waste from the kitchen,” Ms Lloyd said.
“Previously, tens of thousands of kilograms of food offcuts were being taken from the kitchen at Epworth Geelong to landfill.”
The Wastemaster dehydrator can remove water from food waste such as fish and chicken bones, fruit and vegetables, eggs and eggshells, teabags and coffee grinds, leaving behind a powdery residue that is high in nutrients.
Epworth HealthCare Group Sustainability Manager Simon Mikedis, said the residue will be taken to a City of Greater Geelong council facility to be used in nutrient rich compost.
“The compost will be used in local parks and reserves, so it’s a win-win for Epworth and the City of Greater Geelong,” Mr Mikedis said.
“Longer term, we will partner with an anaerobic facility so food waste residue can produce electricity to power homes.”
Epworth Richmond was the first hospital in Victoria to install a Wastemaster system. Last year, more than 36,000 kilograms of kitchen waste from Epworth Richmond was reduced to residue and taken to Yarra Valley Water’s anaerobic facility at Wollert. The residue was used to create enough electricity to power five homes for an entire year.
“In three years, the Wastemaster at Epworth Richmond has prevented 135 tonnes of food waste going to landfill, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 224 tonnes,” Mr Mikedis said.
The installation of the Wastemaster system at Epworth Geelong was made possible through generous support by the Percy Baxter Charitable Trust.