May 9, 2019

Biodigester Allows Food Distributor to Compost Food Waste into Environmentally Safe Waste Water

The company delivers six days a week, sending out six trucks daily and three on Saturdays throughout New York City’s five boroughs, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island.

In 2017, New York City began enforcing stringent new commercial recycling laws as part of the city’s “Zero Waste Design Guidelines,” an ambitious plan to send zero waste to landfills by 2030. Jersey Lynne Farms was faced with a challenge.

“All food and organic products have to be handled separately and no longer mixed in with the garbage,” explains Michael Loconte, president of Jersey Lynne Farms and son of its founder, Vito Loconte. “Given that we have a lot of perishable items, we needed to find a way to dispose of them according to the law. We looked into it with our trash haulers, but the fee to pick up the perishables twice a week was too high. We wanted another solution.

Designed and manufactured by Power Knot LLC, San Jose, California, the LFC-200 operating at Jersey Lynne is a fully enclosed automatic biodigester, decomposing 440 to 800 lbs. of food waste into environmentally safe ‘grey water’ in 24 hours with no noise or odor.

When organic food waste is buried in landfills, it decomposes anaerobically, producing methane, which is 84 times worse for the atmosphere than carbon dioxide according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

To prevent the problem, New York City’s latest commercial recycling regulations require certain businesses to separate organic waste from other refuse. Included are food wholesalers having a floor area of more than 20,000 sq.ft.. They must separate organic waste and have it transported to a landfill by a private carter, or process the material on site.

With nearly 57,000 sq.ft. of warehouse space, Loconte needed a solution, opting for a model LFC-200 biodigester.

“There are no extra steps to using the biodigester,” said Loconte. The waste can be added at any time to the top loading, U-shaped drum. A horizontal agitator slowly rotates every 20 minutes to mix the newly-added and previously-added food waste with air, Powerzyme™ enzymes and automatic infusions of cold and hot water.

Powerchips™ porous plastic chips, which remain in the drum and occupy approximately one-third of its volume, serve to both contain and distribute enzymes and microbes throughout the solid food waste, creating a large surface area that accelerates the decomposition process.

The aerobic, exothermic process produces water, CO2, and heats to 108°F, further accelerating bio-digestion. The CO2 created is part of the natural cycle of carbon generation from plants, which makes the process carbon neutral. Environmentally-safe grey water drains through a screen at the bottom of the vessel and into a standard municipal sewer line.

During its first year, the LFC biodigester processed 17,420 lbs. of solid food waste for Jersey Lynne, and reduced the wholesaler’s carbon footprint by 6.3 tons of CO2.