How do you dispose of your trash? Do you shove it in a plastic bag and send it off to decompose in a landfill? Do you shove it down your garbage disposal and let the little blades chop it into tiny bits that can float through the sewer? Do you compost it and turn it into fertilizer? St. Louis caterer Butler's Pantry has just invested in a novel form of garbage disposal: the Orca Green composting "bioreactor," which turns waste into gray water and carbon dioxide.
The Orca Green doesn't come cheap. The St. Louis Business Journal reports that the company paid $40,000 for the machine, but president Richard Nix, Jr., told the Business Journal that with the money he'll be saving on trash-hauling, he expects the machine to pay for itself within a few years.
The machine looks like a small, stainless-steel Dumpster and can process up to 2,000 pounds of waste per day. It uses environmentally-friendly microorganisms that break down food and biodegradable materials over the course of 24 hours. The machine operates at a low temperature so it doesn't smell, and the manufacturers promise that it leaves no sludge or other waste products behind.
Nix adds that Butler's Pantry will be bringing the leftovers from large catering jobs back to the kitchen to process in the Orca Green. The company is also investigating ways to use the gray water byproduct as fertilizer in its herb garden.
The Orca Green was invented in South Korea; there are currently only about 7,000 in use in the world and one in St. Louis.
Here's a video that shows how the machine works:
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.