Newrest Chile uses biodigester for mining food waste management

August 28, 2022

CHILE — Newrest is a global leader in multi-sector catering with a presence in over 56 countries. Catering and hospitality segments include: inflight, rail and group catering, retail, buy on board, duty free, remote site and support services. Newrest produces and sells around 1.36 million meals per day.

Newrest Chile was established in Chile in late 2008 during the takeover of a local catering company and the creation of an inflight production program. Newrest Chile has 840 employees with 27 major contracts and serves around 6,000 meals per day. It operates in four categories: remote site management, catering, retail, and inflight catering. 

Remote site management typically provides catering and food management services to large mining camps. Waste management on these remote sites is often expensive due to lack of infrastructure and the travel time required. The remote site work is typically seasonal so it would not make sense to hire an ongoing waste management provider. 

Newrest Chile observed the LFC biodigester being used on another client’s site. In 2019, Newrest installed and purchased the LFC-200 biodigester to permanently place at their client’s camp location. 

No rest for food waste at Newrest

Food waste is a deeply important issue that is often overlooked when planning infrastructure for remote camps. Food waste is directly tied to greenhouse gasses, energy consumption, groundwater contamination, and landfill space. With growing knowledge and awareness of the negative impact of food waste, mining camps are facing increasing pressure to see full visibility behind the sustainability of operations.

For remote worksites to effectively operate, workers must live, eat, sleep, and work onsite. It would be inefficient and costly to install most types of long term infrastructure for waste disposal because these worksites are used seasonally or on demand. 

Images sourced from Newrest Chile

Food waste will typically rot within a few days, and may even rot in a few hours if there are high temperatures. This will cause smells and can potentially attract wildlife and insects to the worksite. Thus, food waste must be handled quickly and efficiently. 

Composting is not usually chosen as a food waste solution due to the labor and lack of resources to manage it. Compost piles require constant care and attention which is not possible to maintain with seasonal work. Dehydrators (often called “composters”) are popularly used in remote locations but require high inputs of energy and the problem of what to do with all the dried food waste.

From one desert to another

Newrest saw that the ALMA observatory, a star observatory located in the desert, was using the LFC biodigester as their organic waste solution. The LFC biodigester at the ALMA observatory was able to process the food waste from all the visitors and staff onsite. This completely eliminated the need to outsource food waste management services and the plethora of costs associated with it. Food waste management is typically accomplished by outsourcing the waste services to an outside agency that picks up food waste and transports it to a facility where it is properly handled. 

In 2019, Newrest Chile installed the LFC-200 biodigester to permanently place at their client’s mining camp location. Food scraps and waste are placed directly into the machine where the machines are able to digest the food waste without issue.

In June 2021, Newrest began operations at a production site in Atlanta. Atlanta is the world’s busiest airport with more than 75 million passengers a year. The Newrest kitchen provides catering services to around 150 flights. With such a high volume of food waste, it made the most economical sense for Newrest to use the LFC biodigester. The Atlanta facility installed an LFC-1000 biodigester in June 2022 where it has been digesting about a tonne (2200 lb) of organic waste per day.

About Newrest

Newrest is a global leader in multi-sector catering with a presence in over 56 countries. Newrest Chile was established in Chile in late 2008 during the takeover of a local catering company and the creation of an inflight production program.

Industry: Food Service
Location: Chile