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Wasted Opportunity?

With thousands of students and staff living, studying, eating and drinking on-site, management of waste is increasingly in the spotlight for universities looking to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve sustainability targets.

One such university in the Southeast of England has invested in the PRM Waste Systems’ P500 Bio-Processor to significantly reduce the carbon impact of the waste it produces. As part of its sustainability plan, the university has taken a ‘plastic free pledge’, committing to becoming plastic free by 2024. However, with 14,000 students and 2,000 members of staff producing 500 litres of food and packaging waste every single day in its refectory alone, this is no small undertaking.

Despite changing to compostable packaging, the refectory catering team were struggling to find an environmentally friendly way of disposing of it. While food waste was being collected and taken off-site daily by waste trucks.

By installing the P500 Bio-Processor in its refectory kitchens, the university is now able to turn food waste, compostable packaging and even takeaway cutlery and coffee cups into fertiliser. Using the bio-processors’ aerobic digester system, waste is reduced by 80% over the course of 24 hours from food into substrate. This substrate is then used by the university as a fertiliser for its campus flower beds. The fertiliser can also be stored on site during the winter months when less is required.

Paul Clark, PRM Waste Systems, explains; “The P500 Bio-Processor is unique in its ability to digest and process food and packaging matter, which is what makes it such an attractive waste management solution for universities. The substrate it produces can be used in a number of ways, fertiliser is just one possibility. For example, waste can be made into briquettes and used as a fuel source by organisations with biomass boilers. The bio-processor unit itself is easy-to-use and around the size of a wheelie bin or small skip so doesn’t take up lots of valuable kitchen space.

“On top of the reduction & re-use of the waste itself, there are a number of other environmental and cost saving benefits to be had. Firstly, the knock-on effect of not having waste being taken away each day by trucks and other vehicles, with emissions adding to carbon footprint. And beyond the cost benefits of processing waste effectively on-site, organisations typically find the bio-processor has paid for itself within three years of purchase.”

Keen to explore how bio-processor technology can help it achieve even greater sustainability benefits and cost reductions across its busy campus, the Southeast of England university is currently reviewing waste processes in its halls of residence.

The PRM Waste Systems’ P500 Bio-Processor itself is also sustainably manufactured. Entirely British made, PRM Waste Systems sources the majority of components locally from the three counties surrounding its Somerset base. The PRM P-series Bio-Processor is available in three sizes to suit waste capacity required, for more information please visit:


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