Students at Selkirk College and the City of Nelson will utilize a new appliance to help convert food waste into a gardening supplement.
The device, called a foodcycler, was paid for by the City of Nelson and placed in the college’s Tenth Street Campus. It has been in use over the past semester by students in the professional cook training program.
According to officials with Selkirk College, the pilot project has already drastically reduced commercial food waste in the kitchen.
“It’s important that students learn about the whole chain, they need to think about how the food is produced until the end product,” said David Havemann, pilot project leader. “This makes students conscious about where those vegetable scraps are ending up, that they are not just going to the garbage and disappearing.”
Selkirk College officials said the foodcycler provides a pre-treatment process for organic waste by mashing and dehydrating food scraps.
It can be used on vegetable peelings, beef bones, and leftover food from customers to substantially reduce the weight and volume of food waste.
The end result of this process is a soil additive that can be collected by the city or used in backyard gardens.
As the college’s Tenth Street Campus is home to a number of programs that involve cooking alongside daily cafeteria services, it naturally produces organic waste.
College officials said the pilot project has made a significant difference in kitchen operations in its first few months.
“The pilot at Selkirk College will help us determine if this is a viable solution in the broader commercial sector,” said Emily Mask, Nelson’s Organics Diversion Coordinator. “By reducing the volume with this type of unit, we reduce transportation emissions associated with hauling organic waste which allows us to maximize emission reductions. We will continue with the pilot, but early indications are very positive.”