SWAP Success Stories
Food Waste Pulper
Central College, located in Pella Iowa, has been and continues to be committed to the environment through their mission of implementing sustainability initiatives across the campus including energy efficient vehicles, LEED certified buildings and recycling. Central College Dining Service has also implemented trayless meal service as a means to reduce post-meal food waste and water conservation.
With the assistance of a $20,000 forgivable loan through the DNR’s Solid Waste Alternatives Program, Central College installed a food pulper for kitchen prep and post-meal food waste. Processed food waste is taken to a local composting facility where the pulped food waste will be composted and ultimately returned to the soil.
During the first year of operation, the food waste pulper resulted in:
- diverting more than 108,000 pounds of pre and post-meal food waste from the landfill for composting;
- saving more than $10,000 in avoided landfill fees; and
- saving approximately $8,000 in wastewater fees.
Project benefits included:
- additional sustainability education opportunities;
- revenue for area contractors through installing the food waste pulper system and transporting the final product to an area compost facility;
- eliminated greenhouse gases equivalent to 120 cars for a one month period.
Central College is investigating the next step in waste diversion. Coupling the pulper system with a dehydrator will allow the processed food waste material to be utilized directly on campus. This will result in additional cost avoidance through eliminating collection, transportation and tip fee costs associated with disposal away from campus.
Prior to the pulper project, food waste generated through meal preparation and post-meal waste was disposed of using an in-sink disposal system. While efficient in making food waste go away, a garbage disposal system uses considerable amounts of water and can overtax wastewater treatment systems. A standalone pulper decreases water consumption, the volume of the food waste and also the weight of the food waste by removing excess water.
The Central College Dining Service prepares meals to meet the needs of campus and also provides full catering service for conferences, events as well as for the greater Pella community and the surrounding area.