At Agri-Cycle, we’ve got many machines that work together to transform food waste into sustainable power and products. It’s part of our “Food Full Circle” promise that the food waste our clients collect on-site makes it to our recycling facilities to close the loop. But what happens when packaging is in the way? Plastics, metals, and cardboard can’t be recycled in our normal toter bins, but we’ve got another tool (and it’s a big one) – Agri-Cycle’s Depackager Machine. Today we’re talking about how it works, who it is for, what happens to the output, and the reforms needed in packaging.
How the Depackager Machine Works
The depackager consists of two major parts, an intake trough that feeds packaged food from a hopper into the machine and the separator machine itself. Inside the machine is a series of paddles that break open packaged food and a series of the screen to catch both food and packaging. Metal, plastic, styrofoam, or cardboard – it all gets separated from the food before it enters our AD cycle.
What Industries Is Depackaging For?
We purchased our depackager (the first of its kind in the Northeast) to help clients who didn’t have the person-power to separate their packaging from their food for our bin collection services. While we’ll always promote separating (or product donations) on-site to avoid the extra hauling work and waste of a depackager, it can be vital for businesses, especially when dealing with sudden large amounts of packaged foodstuffs – such as during recalls – including producers and groceries.
What Do We Do with the Packaging?
After packaging and food waste are separated, the packaging waste cannot be recycled as it’s now been comingled with food and other materials (which is why we promote on-site separation first). However, this packaging waste doesn’t end up in landfills – instead, we work with Waste-To-Energy (WTE) facilities like Eco Maine to make sure its energy is recouped.
Want to learn more about our depackager machine? Check out its page here.
Our Beliefs on Packaging & Producer Responsibility
With all this talk of packaging, we’ve got to address the elephant in the room: single-use packaging and, specifically, plastic packaging. With sustainability at the core of Agri-Cycle’s culture and commitment, we are always looking to improve practices and keep packaging trash out of landfills.
- We work with business partners to reduce packaging in landfills. From our depackager to our focus on higher use, we work with partners to remove packaging from landfills.
- We work with producers to remove excess packaging. Beyond our food waste services, we consult with companies about sustainable practices and partnerships.
- We work with policymakers to create better laws around the subject. The Conservation Law Foundation has been spearheading producer responsibility and single-user package laws in Maine and New England.
The depackager machine is just one of the many tools in our arsenal to take food and packaging waste out of landfills and into use as energy, fertilizer, and other sustainable goods. Alongside being a food waste collection service, we can provide consultations for your particular needs when it comes to packaging, producer responsibility, and best practices to better bring your food full circle. Contact Agri-Cycle today to get started by getting a quote or calling us at 1-800-850-9560.