Organic Waste Management at The Landing Case Study

Overview: 

This engineering Capstone project was focused on designing a closed loop system for managing organic waste produced at The Landing, UCalgary’s dining center. Implementing technology to help measure the organic waste can help meet the target set by UCalgary to have a carbon neutral campus by 2050. This project also ties into the economic aspect of sustainability, as it promotes a circular economy, and aims to reduce costs of food waste disposal. 

 

Outcomes: 

The group working on this project first looked at the different waste management techniques and the existing technology that there is to identify the most effective system. An engineering analysis was completed to compare different technological systems processing capability, efficiency, carbon accounting, economics, and logistics. It was identified that the most beneficial solution to the university was to install a system complete with an organic waste dehydrator, boiler, and shredder. This type of system has the most sufficient processing capability, a reasonable payback period, and the highest efficiency, while creating a carbon benefit for the University. The design, although pricey, would work well due to the high volume of food waste from The Landing, and it is very cost-effective. This project was presented at the Engineering Design Fair on April 13 2021, as a way to showcase creative solutions to industry problems. 

 

Next Steps: 

The design is hopefully a step in the right direction to normalise configuring a fully biodegradable waste stream for food at the university and beyond. This project set a good precedent for environmental stewardship and has the opportunity to help divert more waste from landfills. Next steps would be to look into incorporating more waste streams on campus into the feedstock delivered to the system. It is ideal if more facilities at the University adopt a policy of purely organic matter waste streams, allowing for more waste to processed at any given moment, and making the system more efficient. Although the research done was quite thorough, the university should conduct an even more detailed analysis to ensure this system is feasible in the long term. If implemented, this research would improve both environmental and financial factors at the university.