Melbourne Cricket Ground - MCG composts food waste onsite
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MCG composts food waste onsite

Jun 03, 2011

Food scraps from Saturday’s footy match could be used as organic fertiliser thanks to next generation technology on trial at the MCG.

The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has unveiled an onsite Closed Loop Organics Unit that converts food waste to 10 per cent of its original weight within 24 hours. It produces nutrient-rich compost that can be mixed through soil as a fertilizer or returned to the waste stream.

Closed Loop Managing Director Robert Pascoe said the technology would tackle more than 275 tonnes of food waste left over from the 4 million food and beverage products served at the MCG each year.

“The MCC, its caterer Spotless and Closed Loop are capturing the mountain of food waste generated at the venue and turning it into fertilizer at the MCG,” Mr Pascoe said.

 “Fast, large scale, onsite composting is the new frontier for rubbish management. This is about saving landfill space, cutting methane production, and slashing the carbon emissions created by driving rubbish to the tip,” he said.

More than 7.5 million tonnes of food waste is generated in Australia every year.

 “We don’t want food taking up valuable landfill space where it rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than what comes out of your car exhaust,” Mr Pascoe said.

In the case of the MCG, the new technology is also expected to cut the waste bill.

A team led by Mr Pascoe, the recyclable packaging expert who turned the 2000 Sydney Olympics into the Green Games, has been working with the MCC since 2006 to retrieve recyclable materials from the stadium’s rubbish.

Under the Closed Loop program, about 72 per cent of all waste generated at the MCG is now recycled. Each year about 1000 tonnes of recyclable material is reclaimed, saving 16.5 million litres of water and 502 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of permanently taking 121 cars off the road. 

The Closed Loop Organics Units tackle waste not captured by existing systems. In trials conducted in November and December last year, an Organics Unit with a daily capacity of up to 150kg recorded an 89% reduction in the weight of the organic waste in 24 hours.

The next phase of the trial will look at scaling up the service to meet the MCG’s current and future needs. Closed Loop Organics Units come in a range of sizes, which have a daily capacity of 20-1400kg. A unit will be introduced at another major sporting venue, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Albert Park, in coming weeks.
 

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