As retailers and municipalities across the country work to reduce the amount of food waste heading to landfill, two New Jersey Dunkin’ Donuts franchises are using an aerobic digester by Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.-based BioHitech America LLC. to meet sustainability goals.
In 2014, Dunkin’ Donuts launched green building certification program designed to help franchisees build sustainable restaurants. The company also set a goal of building 100 new DD certified restaurants by the end of 2016. To be certified, the restaurant must meet five stages of the Green DD program, which are site development, store efficiency, healthy indoors, sustainable operations and innovation and community. To receive a Green Elite certification, the restaurant must demonstrate going above and beyond in these areas. An outside firm certifies the restaurants.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that each year American businesses and homes send billions of pounds of good food to landfill. That’s as much as 30 to 40 percent of the food supply.
Two New Jersey Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants have installed BioHitech’s Eco-Safe Digester to reduce coffee grounds and food waste heading from its stores to landfill.
The digester, an on-site aerobic unit that eliminates up to 2,400 pounds of food waste in a 24-hour period by converting it into nutrient-neutral water and transporting the water safely through standard sewer lines.
The digester then weighs each increment of waste during the digestion process and allows users to quantify its type and origin, simultaneously transmitting this real-time data to the BioHitech Cloud. The cloud then immediately sorts and organizes the data, providing business owners with the necessary information that can then have an immediate impact on labor, safety, efficiency and sustainability within their company.
“We are thrilled to be working with a brand such as Dunkin' Donuts committed to managing and improving the footprint of their operations," says BioHitech CEO Frank E. Celli. “Most of our Eco-Safe Digesters, which are installed at more than 300 locations around the globe, are at larger facilities like supermarkets, hospitals, hotels, and stadiums. Dunkin’ Donuts is a great example of how our solution can be used in smaller applications. Our on-site aerobic digester is odorless and compact enough to fit neatly in a small area.”
Diverting food waste from landfills has the potential to conserve limited landfill space, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In landfills, food scraps and yard trimmings break down to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, that EPA suggests has a warming potential of 21 times that of carbon dioxide.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 21 percent of the available food in the U.S. goes uneaten at the consumer level. In total, 36 pounds of food per person is wasted each month at the retail and consumer levels.
“As environmental concerns move up in the hierarchy of our corporate objectives, we understand the importance of reducing our carbon footprint,” said Bill Mulholland, franchisee owner of Dunkin’ Donuts, Haledon, New Jersey, in a statement. “The convenience of having BioHitech’s solution located within the store provides a safer environment for our employees especially those working the night-shift.”
The digester allows for less waste going to landfills. Each Dunkin’ Donuts location saves money in reduced hauling fees since there is less waste to be picked up, reduces labor costs from eliminating the repetitive trips to the dumpster, and reduces services associated with pest control.
With the addition of the second franchised location, the first DD Green Elite location in New Jersey, stores that use the Eco-Safe Digester can potentially eliminate enough carbon emissions to serve an additional 1 million cups of coffee without impacting the environment.