One big obstacle in the way of corporate food composting programs has been the lack of infrastructure supporting these efforts and the behavioral changes that it requires, such as getting people to sort food waste from other things on a plate or cafeteria tray.
Technology company Totally Green from Tulsa, Okla., is trying to make things simpler with its ORCA Green Machine, a composting system that it is testing at 45 pilot sites including the Columbus, Ga., headquarters for insurance company Aflac.
Other notable accounts testing the technology are Costco, Lowes, Whole Foods, Royal Caribbean and Morgan Stanley, as well as federal agencies including the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and the General Services Administration (GSA).
ORCA is a food digester that can reduce up to 2,400 pounds of food waste daily into a liquid substance that the company calls "compost tea." That liquid can be used for purposes such as irrigation or it can be flushed into sewer systems. Either way, it keeps the food from being sent to landfills.
The video below provides a more detailed explanation:
At Aflac, ORCA is expected to help divert approximately 60,000 pounds of food waste per year from landfills -- food that would otherwise decompose and create methane, one of the most damaging greenhouse gases. The company's overall SmartGreen initiative calls for it to reduce solid waste sent to landfill by up to 75 percent. In order to meet that goal, it began using ORCA about in spring 2012.