As more food waste diversion programs roll out in the residential and commercial sectors, manufacturers and suppliers are responding with new collection and container tools. The weight and moisture content of food waste have led to innovations in equipment design and operation. An increase in residential food waste collection programs — and the need to service curbside carts — are creating other opportunities for product development.
At WasteExpo in April 2014, vendors were showcasing new equipment specifically for food waste collection. Perkins Manufacturing Company, for example, launched its Model D6565 Food Waste Lifter “designed especially for dumping food waste,” according to the brochure. The D6565 introduces a unique “geometry” that slides the carts straight up over the loading edge of the collection container, “keeping the tilting pivot point close to the cart’s center of gravity, accomplishing a constricted rotating arc, and therefore emptying the cart without spillage,” explains Cheryl Waite, President of Perkins Manufacturing. “This is the first time we have employed this unique geometry.” The D6565 can lift up to 500 pounds, using any ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Type B cart.
Waite adds that the faceplate on the lifter was enlarged in all directions to provide more surface area for the cart to rest on and give more support to the carts. “Food waste carts are very heavy and they usually tend to rock side to side as they are being lifted,” she explains. “This can cause the bottom of the carts to deform. By enlarging the faceplate (all around), we are preventing these issues, the load remains stable as it is lifted and the carts do not get deformed.”
Another product introduction on the show floor was Wastequip’s Precision Series 265IP self-contained compactor for “ground-fed or walk-up fed” wet waste applications such as food waste. The unit’s 2 cubic yard (cy) feed hopper can be equipped with a cart lifter that is powered by the compactor itself. Compactor sizes range from 16- to 35-cy. “A grocery or big box store that generates 60 cy/week of food waste would go with one of the larger-sized units,” notes Kirk Warren, Director of Product Management in Wastequip’s Technical Products Division. “The compactor can be fed through a chute located inside the store. And because food waste is so wet and heavy, compaction with this material isn’t nearly as important as it is with dry waste.”
Warren adds that one focus of the company’s new Precision Series compactors is “user-friendliness.” This includes simpler controls with a push-button start, automatic maintenance alerts and more open space to access cylinders, rods and other components that require servicing.
On the residential food waste collection side, conversations on the show floor discussed the slow but seemingly steady pace of curbside programs being rolled out in the U.S. “Everything we see in the U.S. is a crawl, walk, run approach,” notes John Sebranek, Marketing Manager, Environmental Division at Orbis Corporation. “Municipalities are starting out with pilot programs to test the waters. Anecdotally, the two main reasons we’ve seen for the pilots are: 1) They want to be sure enough infrastructure is in place to process the food waste and 2) Residents will accept the program. Communities will test curbside food waste collection in a couple of neighborhoods with different demographics. Often, because of the limited quantity of food waste collected, they can afford to send it to a processing facility further away.”
Orbis’ composting product line includes a 12-gallon Green Bin2 Organics recycling bin, and a 21-gallon size. Because many municipalities in Canada have adopted residential food waste programs, modifications to existing collection equipment and systems, as well as new product introductions, are often influenced by the experiences of Canadian municipalities. “One trend we are seeing in Canada is the desire for curbside food waste collection carts that are compatible with automated and semiautomated lifting equipment,” adds Sebranek. “Both the City of Toronto and the Region of Peel in Ontario have requested proposals from vendors for a new cart like that. Both plan to deliver them to residents in the fall of 2015. In addition, they are looking for carts to keep pests out, but unlock when dumped by an automated system.” Orbis has responded to the bids and is developing an organics cart that can be used with automated and semiautomated collection.