October 4, 2021

Marco Polo Aged Care Services Removes 50 kg of Food Waste per Day with LFC Biodigester

WOONONA, AUS — Marco Polo Aged Care Services sought to reduce the strain of menial tasks on their care providers and staff. They installed an LFC-50 biodigester in Unanderra in 2014 and an LFC-100 biodigester in Woonona in 2016.

After the LFC-100 biodigester was installed in 2016, Marco Polo has seen a drastic improvement in trash capacity and time efficiency. On average during 2020, the machine digested 100 kg (220 lb) of food waste per day and 35 tonne of food waste that year.

Marco Polo Aged Care Services is a community based, non-profit organization that provides aged care services for the people of Illawarra, a region about 100 km south of Sydney, NSW. Marco Polo Aged Care Services is subsidised by the Australian Government. Their facilities are fully accredited by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency. 

Marco Polo has two facilities in Australia: Unaderra and Woonoona. They  offer 334 residential aged care places and home care packages (HCPs) across both facilities. The Woonona facility opened in November 2016 and offers 168 beds, including a 13 bed dementia specific unit.

Marco Polo Aged Care Services offers numerous options for meals, including: breakfast, morning tea with a selection of pastries, lunch, afternoon tea with snacks, and dinner. Beyond full dining services, Café Roma is open everyday on the Woonoona campus for breakfast and lunch.

The values that guide Marco Polo’s decisions include care, service, inclusion, respect, teamwork and enjoyment. They are committed to providing quality care that is responsive. To achieve these goals, Marco Polo sought to reduce the strain of menial tasks on their care providers and staff. They installed an LFC-50 biodigester in Unanderra in 2014 and an LFC-100 biodigester in Woonona in 2016.

After the LFC-100 biodigester was installed, Marco Polo has seen a drastic improvement in trash capacity and time efficiency. On average during 2020, the machine digested 100 kg (220 lb) of food waste per day and 35 tonne of food waste that year.

Easing Trash Capacity

Prior to installing the biodigester, the trash bins at Marco Polo in Woonona would often be overflowing. Australia’s high temperatures would cause any organic waste to quickly rot and release odors that attracted the wildlife. This raised risks of infection and sanitation issues. 

Once the LFC-100 biodigester was installed, Garry Rickards, maintenance supervisor at Marco Polo, saw a tremendous reduction in trash output. A majority of the food waste was placed in the biodigester with the output of grey water flowing back safely into the sewage system. With a reduced trash load, the trash bins were able to close properly and there was no longer a need to rent additional trash bins.

“Instead of having to upsize our bins and upsize our removal and rubbish costs, we were able to stay with the same size bins without the overflow problems we were having before,” explained Rickards. “We were able to reduce our rubbish and, in reducing our rubbish, our bins were always closed. That took away infection control issues and vermin control issues.”

Additional time for quality service

TJ Manning, the Chef Manager at Marco Polo, has found the LFC biodigester has been a positive addition to his kitchen. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served in house. With two options for each meal, waste will always be produced as a byproduct. 

The LFC biodigester has helped reduce time spent going back and forth between the trash bins. Instead of spending additional time walking outside to place garbage receptacles in the appropriate bins, the staff could simply place food waste into the biodigester in the kitchen and return to the task at hand.

Marco Polo’s staff saw numerous benefits in having a biodigester reduce the amount of time spent on menial tasks. The kitchen staff could focus more on quality meal preparation while nursing staff had more time to spend on patient care. Additionally, the reduction of janitorial tasks enabled maintenance staff to focus on proactive service rather than responsive action.

Low effort with high reward

Rickards has found the LFC biodigester to be a self running machine with very low maintenance. The staff also found the LFC biodigester easy to use and minimal training was required to educate the team on what was acceptable to place in the biodigester. 

With the LFC biodigester, Marco Polo has been able to reduce its garbage maintenance significantly. They no longer need to outsource their bins and the costs for garbage removal have reduced tremendously. Additionally, since their bins can close properly, vermin and pest control issues have disappeared. The LFC biodigester has helped Marco Polo uphold their outstanding values of providing responsive and quality patient care.

About Marco Polo Aged Care

Marco Polo Aged Care Services is a community based, non-profit organization that provides aged care services for the people of Illawarra. Marco Polo Aged Care Services is subsidised by the Australian Government. Their facilities are fully accredited by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency. 

Industry: Aged Care Services

Location: Australia

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