Rising above food waste at UCR with the SBT bin tipper

2022-10-03

RIVERSIDE, CA — UC Riverside (UCR) is one of ten campuses that is a part of the University of California system. The main campus is 1,900 acres and is situated in Riverside, California while a branch campus of 20 acres sits in Palm Beach. The UCR campus is frequented by 1,638 academic staff, 1,938 administrative staff, and 25,548 students. According to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings, UCR tied for 33rd among top public universities and ranks 83rd nationwide. 

UCR Housing, Dining, & Hospitality Services provides multiple dining options, with two residential dining halls and food courts choices. All the dining facilities would generate food waste that added up over time.

Although a biodigester was heavily considered as the best food waste solution, the City of Riverside has banned all microbes and enzymes from entering sewer lines. Subsequently, UCR is unable to use certain products such as a cleaning agent from Hobart and biodigesters as their food waste solutions. 

UCR is currently using a food waste dehydrator, dumpster, and compost to manage its food waste. However, it was not feasible to move the high amounts of food waste with man power. In 2020, UCR purchased an SBT Bin Tipper from Power Knot to help with its food composting program.

Sustainability from farm to table

UC Riverside is a leading practitioner of sustainable programs, having established programs that range from energy consumption to food waste. In recognition of its environmentally friendly efforts and success, the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources presented UCR with a Sustainability Award in 2017. The campus received a gold rating from the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. 

UCR has a number of sustainable initiatives, including sourcing from farm to table. More than half of all produce purchased by UCR is locally sourced and grown within 250 miles of the facility. The university also only serves cage-free eggs and hormone free milk. UCR recycles food waste, including 100% of cooking oil, coffee grounds, and composts 250 tons of food waste each year. According to the 2021 UCR Sustainability Annual Report, the university has seen a major decrease in greenhouse gas emissions

The City of Riverside has strict protocols around their wastewater treatment system and does not permit microbes and enzymes from entering sewer lines. Therefore, UCR was unable to purchase an LFC biodigester despite high interest and chose to install a food dehydrator and composting system.

Composting on a campus scale requires tremendous effort. With multiple restaurants and dining halls generating food waste and scraps, it was crucial for UCR to use a solution that could help with carrying high amounts of waste effectively. 

In 2020, UCR purchased an SBT bin tipper from Power Knot. The SBT-140 stainless steel bin tipper that can handle bins up to 140 litre (35 gallons). It is completely battery powered and fits through standard doorways. The bin tipper is also waterproof, making it easy for the UCR team to hose off and clean. The bin tipper is used to lift trash bins containing high amounts of food waste from the dining halls into a dehydrator and three yard dumpster. 

“We highly depend on the SBT bin tipper for the success of our composting program,” said Gustavo Plascencia, the General Manager of Special Projects at UCR. “From a safety standpoint, it helps eliminate safety hazards from lifting 24 and 32 gallon food waste containers that weigh up to 200 lbs. The equipment has been integral to our efforts to divert over 200 tons of food waste from the landfill to compost in the past year.”

About UC Riverside

UC Riverside (UCR) is one of ten campuses that is a part of the University of California system. The main campus is 1,900 acres and is situated in Riverside, California while a branch campus of 20 acres sits in Palm Beach. The UCR campus is frequented by 1,638 academic staff, 1,938 administrative staff, and 25,548 students. According to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings, UCR tied for 33rd among top public universities and ranks 83rd nationwide. 

Industry: Higher Education
Location: United States