Gun Lake Casino reduces methane emissions with food waste bin tipper to preserve Earth

November 7, 2022
The Gun Lake Tribe use the SBT bin tipper to empty a wheelie bin into the LFC biodigester.

Gun Lake Tribe is a federally recognized Indian sovereign nation in Michigan. The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians are indigenous people of Michigan. They own and operate Gun Lake Casino and Harvest Buffet and employ more than 1000 people, contributing over $2.8 billion to the Michigan economy. 

Gun Lake Tribe strives to protect their lands and resources on Grandmother Earth for the next seven generations. To achieve this goal, they focused on waste reduction across multiple areas.

In 2022, the Tribe purchased an SBT bin tipper to help with their food waste reduction plan. The bin tipper is used to transport food waste and scraps from the buffet into the backroom where the biodigester is held. The biodigester and bin tipper have helped the Gun Lake Tribe greatly reduce methane emissions by diverting food waste from the landfill. 

Humble beginnings

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) is part of the historic Three Fires Confederacy, an alliance of the Pottawatomi (Bodewadmi), Ottawa (Odawa) and Chippewa (Ojibwe). Tribal Nations in the Great Lakes region are also known as the Neshnibek, or original people.

Under the 1821 Treaty, the Tribe retains a three-square-mile-reservation. In 2001, the Tribe pursued economic development under the federal Indian gaming Regulatory Act. Their efforts were met with resistance until 2005 when the federal process concluded and allowed them to pursue their gaming project.

Gun Lake Casino finally opened its doors to the public on February 10, 2011. The 76,000 sq feet casino offers 1450 slot and poker machines and 28 table games. Food and beverage options can be found in multiple franchises within the casino or at the Harvest Buffet. The casino has provided jobs and economic development to the tribal community and people of West Michigan.

Play to plate

Gun Lake Casino offers the Harvest Buffet, an all you can eat buffet that serves lunch and dinner. Their food waste was originally going into the trash, but Gun Lake Tribe wanted to find a more environmentally friendly solution. They purchased a biodigester which was stored in the casino’s backroom.

By diverting food waste from the landfill, Gun Lake Tribe has greatly reduced the amount of methane going into the atmosphere. Food waste no longer has a chance to rot and release methane when it is placed into a biodigester. 

Gun Lake Tribe found that by reducing the amount of food waste going into their trash, it was helping their other operations tremendously. Time and effort was saved because waste could be separated at the source instead of requiring unsanitary segregation afterwards.

There was a monetary benefit to reduce the amount of food waste as it greatly decreased the amount of waste that was hauled away by external contractors. The cost of the waste was calculated based on the weight of the waste. All the trash going into their garbage compactors also no longer smelled thanks to the removal of organic waste. 

The Tribe had their own in-house bin tipper which wasn’t mobile. They found Power Knot’s SBT bin tipper to be easy to operate and able to fit through standard doorways with ease. The bin tipper helped move food waste from the buffet to the biodigester which was a couple hundred feet away. The bin tipper has been instrumental in moving multiple garbage bins of waste into the machine, greatly reducing the time and effort of manual labor required for these operations.

“From day one, the SBT bin tipper helps us safely and effectively transport food waste from the Harvest Buffet to the biodigester,” said Shawn McKenney, Environmental Specialist at Gun Lake Tribe Environmental Department. “It is lightweight, mobile, and has helped process over 1600 lb of food waste.”

About the Gun Lake Tribe

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) has a rich history in West Michigan and close connection to the land. The Bradley Indian Mission, located near Wayland, is the historic residential and cultural center point of the tribal community.

The Tribe’s ancestors, and political predecessors, signed treaties with the United States government dating back to 1795. The Tribe was re-affirmed to federal recognition in 1999. For more information about the Tribe, visit

Industry: Entertainment
Location: USA

About the SBT bin tipper

The SBT™ bin tipper lifts bins to deposit the contents into a container. The machine is made of stainless steel so that it can be safely used in kitchens and other places that demand cleanliness and hygiene. The tipping mechanism is driven by a low pressure hydraulic mechanism that assures safety and quiet operation. The tipper is battery operated and is easily moved through any standard door. The entire tipper is waterproof and can be washed down with a hose pipe to maintain cleanliness.

The SBT bin tipper can be used in a variety of applications where mobility and cleanliness are required including the disposal of organic waste or medical waste. 

The machine is ideal for lifting waste food and depositing it into a Power Knot LFC-300 or LFC-500 biodigester.