UK’s oldest pub adopts newest food waste disposal technology

February 25, 2019

Pub owner preserves the past- and the environment

St. Albans, UK

Established in the eighth century, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks Pub was purchased in 2012 by Christo Tafelli. While committed to preserving the pub’s history, Tafelli also endeavoured to create the greenest and most cost-efficient pub in all of England. To accomplish these seemingly opposing goals, he oversaw a £1 million ($1.3 million) renovation that included the installation of a cardboard bailer, a glass crusher, and an LFC-70 biodigester to lessen lorry collections, shrink landfill deposits, and reduce the pub’s carbon footprint.

At Pub 18 trade show in London I learned about different technologies to save space and go green, including the LFC® biodigester,” explains Tafelli. “The maths made sense. In the first week, I eliminated three food waste collections. Multiplied by 52 weeks, I spent £26,000 ($33,730) last year on overall waste removal with about 20% for food waste. That’s about £5,000 ($6,487) a year I’ll save. The biodigester will pay for itself quickly.”

Manufactured by Power Knot LLC, the LFC-70 turns between 70-125 kg (150-280 lb) of food waste per day into drain-safe “grey water- noiselessly, safely and odour-free. Tafelli also avoids storing of food waste and potentially attracting vermin or exposing customers to unsavoury smells, particularly during warm weather. Previously, a 2,400 litre (3 cu yd) bin would hold a week’s worth of food waste. The LFC-70 has eliminated the bin and associated drawbacks.

Staying ahead of UK’s forthcoming commercial waste regulations

“Commercial waste will eventually be regulated in the UK, so we’re starting now,” Tafelli says. “Other pubs have already been looking at our LFC because everyone knows the regs are on the horizon.”

At present, the United Kingdom has no commercial food waste regulation; efforts are voluntary. But “Food Waste in England,” a report produced for the House of Commons Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee (2016-2017), makes it clear that regulation is imminent. Also, two registered UK charities, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and IGD, a grocery industry association, have developed the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap initiative. It aims to have 50% of the UK’s largest food businesses measuring, reporting, and acting on food waste by September 2019, with full commercial compliance by 2026.

Waste food drained instead of hauled

Made of stainless steel the LFC-70 biodigester stands 108 cm (3½ ft) tall and operates quietly and odour-free 24/7. Users open a lid to add food into the unit’s internal U-shaped vessel which is equipped with a horizontally-oriented agitator that rotates slowly. Porous plastic Powerchips™ that remain in the vessel at all times contain and distribute Powerzyme™ self-replenishing microbes and enzymes which accelerate the decomposition process, together with automatic infusions of hot and cold water and oxygen.

The biodigester decomposes food aerobically (with oxygen), producing only water, CO2, and heat to 42º C (108º F), further speeding decomposition. The CO2 generated is part of the natural cycle of carbon generation from plants, making the process carbon neutral. Food waste, which can be added to the continuous process at any time, is fully digested within 24 hours, and gravity-discharged into the drain as harmless grey water.

The best of the old and the new unite

Using the unit’s touch screen, Tafelli can access information on drum temperature, door openings, water volume, water temperature, CO2 emissions avoided, service reminders, and weight of the food waste digested by hour, day, week, month and year. The data is available on any smart device, laptop, or computer via the cloud.

Tafelli adds, “I get reports daily, and they’re all good. During the first four months since we installed it, we’ve disposed of 5,151 kg (11,356 lb) of waste in the LFC. In terms of our carbon footprint, we’ve saved the equivalent of 21.6 tonnes (23.8 T) of CO2 emissions.”

“Moreover, think about how many lorries are no longer driving through our neighborhood to our pub. We’re in an old part of the city where there’s little room for bin lorries, and we’ve stopped receiving two or three lorries a week. It’s great being able to manage our own waste disposal, rather than having to rely on someone else.”