Epworth food waste to power homes

December 3, 2023 BY

Epworth Geelong general manager Leonie Lloyd, head chef Mark Parsons and Epworth Healthcare sustainability manager Simon Mikedis. Photo: SUPPLIED

Epworth Geelong is repurposing tonnes of kitchen-generated food waste, significantly reducing landfill and greenhouse gas emissions, with future plans to harness the waste to power local homes.

As the first hospital in regional Australia to adopt the Wastemaster food waste dehydrator, Epworth Geelong is pioneering an eco-friendly approach by eliminating 80% of kitchen waste.

Green Eco Technologies’ WasteMaster systems use charged oxygen molecules to accelerate the decomposition of food waste by breaking down cell walls.

Moisture is evaporated and released as vapour, leaving a nutrient-rich residue.

At the end of the process, organic waste weight is reduced by up to 80 per cent.

Epworth HealthCare Group Sustainability Manager Simon Mikedis said the residue will be taken to a City of Greater Geelong council facility to be used in nutrient rich compost.

“The compost will be used in local parks and reserves, so it’s a win-win for Epworth and the City of Greater Geelong,” Mr Mikedis said.

“Longer term, we will partner with an anaerobic facility so food waste residue can produce electricity to power homes.”

Epworth Richmond was the first hospital in Victoria to install a Wastemaster system.

Last year, more than 36,000 kilograms of kitchen waste from Epworth Richmond was reduced to residue and taken to Yarra Valley Water’s anaerobic facility at Wollert.

The residue was used to create enough electricity to power five homes for an entire year.

“In three years, the Wastemaster at Epworth Richmond has prevented 135 tonnes of food waste going to landfill, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 224 tonnes,” Mr Mikedis said.

Executive General Manager Epworth Geelong Leonie Lloyd said Epworth wants to champion sustainable hospital practices.

“We completed an independent sustainability audit at Epworth Geelong, which found one of the biggest contributors to our carbon emissions was food waste from the kitchen,” Ms Lloyd said.

“Previously, tens of thousands of kilograms of food offcuts were being taken from the kitchen at Epworth Geelong to landfill.”

The installation of the Wastemaster system was supported by the Percy Baxter Charitable Trust.