Green machines turn food waste into liquid compost
October 21, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas - Fort Hood is working toward a net zero waste goal to eliminate the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill by the year 2020. The antigarbage strategy challenges Soldiers, civilians and their Families to rethink their lifestyles and make changes to their daily routines.
To reach the 2020 goal, Fort Hood plans to combine efforts of enhanced recycling, waste reduction and waste-to-energy technology.
In fiscal year 2010, more than 25,000 tons of solid waste ended up in the Fort Hood landfill.
"About 50 percent of what goes directly to our landfill is still recyclable," said Jaycee Turnquist, Recycle Center business manager.
According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, a Texas resident generates more than 6.5 pounds of trash every day.
Fort Hood's landfill receives 50-70 tons of trash nearly every day.
"There is a vast potential to expand our efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle with our community and within Fort Hood," said Randy Doyle, environment support team supervisor. "We have documented success in reducing our waste streams and recognize the need to expand these efforts."
Doyle worked with the Directorate of Logistics and Army Environmental Command to implement a project for food composting machines and help further the installation's initiative to be net zero waste by 2020.
Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative containers will be installed at two of North Fort Hood's dining facilities. Each dining facility serves approximately 1,500 meals a day. Food waste will be diverted from the landfill and composted by the ORCA.
The ORCA uses naturally occurring micro-organisms to break down up to 2,400 pounds of food waste daily and turn kitchen waste into liquid compost.
The ORCA was showcased at the 11th annual Garrison Picnic on Oct. 6, which was a net zero waste event. More than 1,100 attendees participated in the event and helped the installation in its 2020 goal by recycling their aluminum, cardboard and paper and by composting food waste.
"We are also exploring ways to repurpose excess organic waste, like for energy generation or composted fertilizer," Doyle said. "There is a tremendous opportunity for expanding the use of ORCA technology at Fort Hood, as well as at many other military operations."
The Environmental Division encourages everyone to join in the effort to make the Great Place a little greener, help maintain the environment and preserve resources.
Individuals can work toward zero waste at home by following these tips to reduce, reuse and recycle:
Swap paper towels for reusable rags.
Bring reusable bags for shopping.
Look for products that contain recycled content to help create a stronger market for recyclables.
Turn your trash can into a compost bin for your fruit and vegetable scraps.
Recycle everything from cell phones to cardboard to metal.
Before purchasing new items, look for lightly used alternatives.
Sign up for electronic bills and statements.
Reuse jars and bottles.
Purchase products with less packaging.
For more information on environmental and recycle services, call 287-6499.