What do you do with the massive amount of food waste generated at your office? Property giant Growthpoint, which owns numerous office spaces around the country, has developed a new system that turns the food waste generated at its premises into compost.
The pilot project, called G-Eco, is currently being tested and refined at the Growthpoint Business Park in Midrand, Gauteng. They have teamed up with Life & Earth, the ‘waste-to-soil’ division of Life Green Group, to gather the food waste from four of its multi-tenant commercial properties in the region.
An effective solution to food waste in South Africa
A locally constructed composting machine called the Heron IVC was installed at the business park in July 2017. The machine can turn one tonne of food waste into organic compost every day, resulting in an output of nine tonnes of compost every month.
Growthpoint’s current tenants at the office park have been trained on how to correctly separate their food waste so that only organic compounds are placed in the composting machine. During the first four months of its trial, the initiative has diverted 16 tonnes of food waste from landfills. The compost is mixed with soil and added back to the grounds of the Midrand Business Park.
“The G-Eco waste-to-soil project is one component of Growthpoint’s bigger waste management strategy,” says Head of Sustainability Werner van Antwerpen. The aim is to install on-site recycling and composting facilities in all of Growthpoint’s building by the end of 2018.
“We are excited to find out exactly how much waste-to-landfill we will be able to save with our different waste management programmes, but we are confident that it will be substantial,” says Antwerpen. “This innovative project contributes to Growthpoint’s environmentally-responsible leadership and furthers our sustainable business journey,” he adds.
Composting is cost-effective and eco-friendly
Part of the decision-making process behind the G-Eco initiative lies in the fact that South Africa is gearing up to ban food waste from landfills after 2020. Therefore, alternative means of disposing of food need to be developed.
Added to this, the cost of transporting food waste to alternative disposal sites further afield would impact Growthpoint’s financials quite significantly.
Food waste accounts for around half of all waste volumes, so removing it from the waste stream not only saves the environment but also saves money and space.
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