The owner of Britain’s oldest pub estimates he will save £5,000 a year on food waste costs after installing a machine to convert surplus food into drain-safe ‘grey’ water.
Christo Tafelli, who runs Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, recently had a Power Knot LFC biodigester installed in its kitchen in a bid to get a better handle of the food waste that it produces.
He plans to create the greenest and most cost-efficient pub in England and has spent £1m renovating the site including bringing in cardboard bailers and glass crushers to lessen lorry collections, shrink landfill deposits, and reduce the pub’s carbon footprint.
Mr Tafelli, who bought the eight century pub seven years ago, said the investment in Power Knot’s LFC-70 model waste was a no-brainer once he’d crunched the numbers.
“The maths made sense. In the first week, I eliminated three food waste collections. Multiplied by 52 weeks, I spent £26,000 last year on overall waste removal with about 20% for food waste. That’s about £5,000 a year I’ll save. The biodigester will pay for itself quickly.”
The LFC-70 turns between 70kg to 125kg of food waste a day into drain-safe ‘grey’ water without any noise or odours.
Mr Tafelli also avoids storing of food waste and potentially attracting vermin or exposing customers to unsavoury smells, particularly during warm weather.
Previously, a 2,400 litre bin would hold a week’s worth of food waste, but the LFC-70 has eliminated the bin and associated drawbacks.
“Commercial waste will eventually be regulated in the UK, so we’re starting now,” he predicts. “Other pubs have already been looking at our LFC because everyone knows the regs are on the horizon.”
Mr Tafelli said that while there is no formal commercial food waste regulation in England, the ‘Food Waste in England’ report published by the House of Commons Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee suggests that will change.
The biodigester it is using decomposes food aerobically (with oxygen), producing only water, CO2, and heat to 42, further speeding decomposition. Food waste, which can be added to the continuous process at any time, is fully digested within 24 hours, and gravity-discharged into the drain as harmless grey water.
Mr Tafelli added that data from the machine allows him to see how much food waste the kitchen is processing. “I get reports daily, and they’re all good. During the first four months since we installed it, we’ve disposed of 5,151 kg of waste in the LFC. In terms of our carbon footprint, we’ve saved the equivalent of 21.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions.”