Biodigesters transform food waste into water

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Peter Mallett
Staff Writer
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Food waste at CFB Esquimalt’s galleys, once scraped into green bins and hauled to the landfill, is now being decomposed on site.

Two Power Knot LFC biodigesters installed at Nelles Block Galley decompose biodegradable garbage and turn it into grey water. Two more will be installed at Work Point’s Venture Galley as part of the base’s green initiative.

“Anything that can protect our environment, reduce our carbon footprint and CO2 emissions, and cut costs at the same time is a great initiative,” says PO2 David Keneford, Nelles Block Galley Manager.

Eliminating green bins means big cost savings as private waste contractors will no longer need to haul the contents away, plus there is the bonus of reduced mess and smell from the green bins and their contents.

Now, kitchen staff will feed everything directly into the biodigesters, from unwanted food items to recently introduced biodegradable cutlery made of cornstarch, paper cups and plates.

Each unit can process up to 200 pounds of waste in 24 hours, far more than what passes through Nelles Galley. The machine uses a mixture of a concentrated enzyme called powerzyme, sugar rice, and water to break down material and turn it into grey water, which can be treated in the wastewater stream or used for irrigation. About 97 percent of food waste is turned into grey water with the remaining three percent a fully compostable by-product. This natural process is significantly better for the environment.

“It’s good to see the Government of Canada and Canada’s military are constantly pushing for more green initiatives and finding new ways of helping save our environment,” says PO2 Keneford. “This latest development is a morale booster and makes people feel more confident and better about the job they are doing.”

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