Digesting the problem of food wasteright-arrow
read-time2 mins
by Charter Hall

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Together with our waste management partner Veolia, we’re tackling the issue of food waste in our retail centres.

Over 5 million tonnes of food end up as landfill in Australia each year. Now as part of our drive to be leaner, greener landlords we are testing an innovative new solution to the problem.

Waste digesters work like giant mechanical stomachs, breaking food waste down into liquid through aerobic digestion by microorganisms. They are a hyperlocal, distributed alternative to the traditional truck-and-bin collection system.

We have installed two ORCA food waste digesters on three-month trials, at our NSW centres Campbelltown Mall and at Lake Macquarie Square on the Central Coast.

They reduce unnecessary landfill - a single machine can process up to 900 kilograms of food waste a day - cutting the harmful emissions that come with truck traffic while also benefiting our retail partners through lower waste removal costs. 

The ORCA digesters produce processed liquid waste that is disposed of via the sewerage system, and they are fitted with traps to catch grease and occasional indigestible items such as large bones. They generate no unwanted noise or odours and are checked regularly by a centre cleaning supervisor and by a Veolia technician.

Ensuring the approval of our retail partners is an essential part of the trials, and thus far the feedback has been positive. From their point of view the only change is that instead of moving their food waste to the compactor, they take it to the ORCA.

Based on the success of the trials so far, we are now looking into installing another waste digester for the Campbelltown centre’s food court. Perhaps one day waste digesters will be standard equipment at shopping centres around the world.