Hawaii food producer takes big bite out of waste costs
‘Muffin Monster’ grinder combines with compactor to deliver 50% reduction in waste handling
Using a giant grinder to compact waste saves significant money for HPC Foods, one of Hawaii’s largest food manufacturers and distributors. Faced with escalating waste disposal haul-away costs, the company found the Muffin Monster, which literally chewed HPC’s disposal costs in half.
Founded in 1946, HPC Foods produces a variety of products for the Taro Brand label, including poi, sprouts, cut fruits and vegetables. HPCE also distributes various local and mainland products from its Oahu operation. The company’s 13,000-sq. ft. produce processing center houses food manufacturing operations for both food service and retail customers.
During the processing of the fresh produce crops, all trimmings are cut off and put into a barrel for disposal. A contracted company then hauls away the barrels of waste. HPC’s usage had reached 60 barrels a day. “That number was really getting crazy,” says Paul Tottori, VP of maintenance and operations. “Once we hit 60 barrels a day, the cost added up very quickly. We were just going through too many of them and knew we had to find a way to cut costs. So we began looking for compacting and size reduction solutions.”
As a first step, HPC installed a screw compactor that would take the whole waste product and compact it. The problem with this method was that there was still some space throughout the waste product. The compactor alone was not enough.
The next step in seeking a solution was to reduce the waste size. Tottori researched grinders online and saw JWCE’s attention-getting green Muffin Monster and selected the Muffin Monster model 30005 dual-shafted grinder. The Muffin Monster features low-speed and high torque. The dual shafts offer more power than standard models and are capable of grinding a wider variety of solids than single shafted machines and macerators. The unit’s sharp steel cutter teeth shred virtually any material.
Once the Muffin Monster was installed and tested, Tottori mated the compactor and the grinder together, resulting in the desired solution. The Muffin Monster first provides size reduction. Then the waste goes through the compactor where more free water is squeezed out of the product for optimum compression. From there, waste goes into barrels for disposal.
Using the compactor and the Muffin Monster together proved to be the ideal solution and far exceeded expectations. “We ended up with a 50% reduction in waste handling, basically cutting barrel usage from 60 per day to about 30,” explains Tottori. “We had wanted to reduce the waste handling by as much as we could. Initially, I was looking for a reduction of half, but I would have been happy with 25%!”
In addition to the significant savings in disposal costs, the new system also saves time. Previously the disposal method was a two-man operation. All the trimmings were cut off from the fresh crop and put into a clean barrel. The barrels would be moved outside the processing area and loaded up onto a barrel dumpster, which was attached to the forklift. Disposal barrels could not be brought into the processing area because of contamination. One worker lifted up the clean barrel to a second worker who dropped it into the disposable barrels. This waste handling process would be performed every half hour on average.
Under the new system, only one person is needed in the waste handling process. That person puts the waste into smaller, 30-pound totes that can be stacked up on a dolly. He then rolls it out and dumps it into the reducing and compacting process. Once that’s complete, the waste goes into barrels for haul away.
The more compact waste not only lowers disposal costs — as less waste material and water are sent to the landfill — but also keeps odors to a minimum and reduces waste handling labor. “Bottom line, it’s cost savings: that’s the benefit to the company,” says Tottori.
Based on the success of the new waste reduction solution, HPC plans to further expand this idea to their wastewater product operation. A drop-in grinder will be installed in the trench drains. Whatever ends up in the wastewater trench will get ground up and sent off to the common sump where it is pumped, screened and conveyed to the sewer.
JWC Environmental’s family of wastewater, stormwater and sewage treatment products include the Muffin Monster and Channel Monster sewage grinders, and the Auger Monster, Screenings Washer Monster and Monster Separation Systems, which incorporate a fine screen or band screen with superior sewage screening conditioning.