Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waste Problems? No Problem!

Looking for a solution to your waste problems?  One company in Alaska by the name of Alaska Waste which is a refuse hauling company based in Anchorage are utilizing dumpsters. They provide a service called Greenwaste solutions which were created as an offshoot from Alaska Waste.  At first, they experienced a number of challenges with the high volume of moist produce waste which was being disposed and compounded by cold climate. Because grocery stores are their primary customer, problems arose when pre-consumer vegetable and fruit waste were placed in the dumpster and the juices from these fruits were leaking out of the dumpsters.  There was a large amount of liquid running out especially considering that the moisture content of these vegetables is 75 to 95 percent.  Due to the cold weather in Anchorage’s winter months, most of the contents will ice up allowing hazardous conditions for the people who had to access the dumpsters. As the trucks made their way into the streets, the juices were causing icy slicks. This became a serious problem for the town.  Finally, the company had discovered a method called rotating drum BioReactor technology by XACT Systems. This method has a tiny footprint and tremendous capacity. The product was installed in anchorage in 2009.  The vessel is 10-feet in diameter by 30-feet long.  Provided to the grocery store customers were 64-gallon tipper carts for fruits and vegetables for a small rental fee. The grocery store customers were very happy with this solution as it provided staff with a safe and clean environment.

Jeff Jessen from Alaska’s Waste renewable resources program is the administrator. He says he had to learn to make compost with the available feed stocks.  He states that “There is a little bit of an art to it, but once you get it dialed in, it runs on cruise control!”  Jeff says when you are trying to get the right carbon to nitrogen ratio, in order for composting to be successful; the more carbon will be needed to blend with the food waste. An ideal carbon source is wood chips, when this is blended with food waste; they provide better porosity for mixture which made better aeration.
The XACT system, which is housed in a building already existed on site and consists of four conveyors and a mixer. When the processing begins, the waste produce is loaded into a four-auger mixer truck which allows it to sit overnight and excess liquid will drain off. When morning comes, the mixer will begin and the manure and wood chips are now added. This will run for about 20 minutes. The contents will now be discharged onto a conveyor and this will all be transferred to the in feel of the BioReactor. 


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