While cooling down with a fruity La Paleta ice cream or icy pole on a hot day, have you ever wondered where the leftover raw ingredients – like spray-free Pemberton raspberries, Carnarvon mangoes and organic Serpentine cucumbers – end up?
For many food producing businesses, it is common for food waste to land in a rotting pile at the tip, producing damaging greenhouse gases and taking up precious, expensive landfill space.
Since La Paleta established its commercial kitchen in Bibra Lake in 2012, staff took all the company’s food waste home for garden composting but that all changed last August when it signed up to the City of Cockburn’s commercial food waste trial.
The company has now sent more than seven tonnes to Richgro’s anaerobic digestion plant in Jandakot to help produce high-quality biofertiliser, first as a trial participant and now as a customer of the City’s permanent service.
The City’s waste management team is appealing for more Cockburn businesses to join La Paleta by applying to use the service, to reap both the practical and feel-good benefits of adopting environmentally friendly waste recovery methods.
Richgro’s biofertiliser production process also captures methane to generate electricity that is fed into the electricity grid, as two 1.5MW generators create a maximum of 57,600KW per day, helping power the equivalent of 3,200 homes.
City of Cockburn Waste Education Coordinator Clare Courtauld said by the end of June 2021, the service had diverted 70.64 tonnes food waste from landfill, equal to 134,216 kg of CO2 emissions or about 33 years of electricity consumption for one Australian household.
“The trial, which involved about 30 businesses, was so successful that after less than six months, Cockburn Council approved a permanent payable service that kicks off this month,” Ms Courtauld said.
Participating Cockburn food retailers, producers and restaurants will pay an annual charge of $260 per 240L commercial food waste bin service, $78 less than the City’s annual general waste service fee for businesses.
La Paleta Owner/Director Ami McDonald said she highly recommended the service to other Cockburn food waste-producing businesses.
“It is a very low-cost and low-effort way to make a really tangible impact on the amount of landfill a business is producing,” Ms McDonald said.
“We had always composted our scraps by taking them home but this service offers us a far easier and efficient way to deal with our food scraps that still allows us to fulfil our environmental goals.
“It's the kind of proactive and positive action customers love to see businesses doing in their community.
“All the produce scraps from our kitchen - that means a lot of watermelon rind, lemon and lime peel, raspberry seeds and cucumber skin - go into two supplied food waste bins which are collected weekly by the City.
“We got involved because we believe a business is responsible for dealing with the waste it produces in the most environmentally responsible way it can, and because we use a lot of fresh produce in our ice creams a lot of the waste we produce is compostable.
“Organic waste can be such a valuable resource if processed properly. When we send it to landfill it takes hundreds of years to break down and produces harmful gases.
“It has always been important to us that the organic waste we produce is diverted from landfill this way it is turned into nutrient-rich compost to grow more food for us to use!
“I think more and more customers are looking at the businesses behind the products they buy.
“We think our customers would be proud to know that not only are we making delicious ice creams using all natural ingredients, but we are doing it in a way that is environmentally responsible and has a positive impact in our community.
“We have a goal of zero waste and using this great service is part of our work towards achieving this.”
To find out more about the service and apply to be a participant, visit the City’s website
La Paleta Owner/Director Ami McDonald with City of Cockburn Waste Education Coordinator Clare Courtauld.