COVID-19 Advice for the JCU Community - Last updated: 19 January 2022, 12pm (AEST)

Food waste - The Bio-Regen Unit

JCU is a world leader when it comes to managing food waste. JCU is working with local Townsville company VRM to use the Bio-Regen system to convert thousands of kilograms of food waste into valuable bio-fertiliser every year.

JCU’s kitchens produce a large volume of food waste. Common practice is to place the scraps in the waste bin which ends up in landfill and produces many tonnes of CO2 and methane emissions and is a wasteful use of what can be a valuable resource. Previously hundreds of tonnes of food waste was sent to landfill every year from JCU’s kitchens as there was no cost effective or easy alternative to allow recycling of the food waste until recently.

To avoid this wasteful practice TropEco commenced a world first trial of the Bio-Regen system at its University Halls kitchen in Townsville in 2013. The innovative Bio-Regen unit takes food waste and converts it into a liquid bio-fertiliser through a simple and hassle-free process using a special mix of effective microbes to drive the process.

The success of the trial saw the Bio-Regen system outgrow its place in the Uni Halls kitchen so in 2018 a major upgrade and relocation of the Bio-Regen system took place so that food waste from all JCU owned residential kitchens could be undertaken. An additional complementary process called Groundswell was also implemented, which allows for processing of large organic materials in large bays, similar to a composting process but with superior results due to the microbial inoculants used.

In 2018, over 15,000 kg of food waste was collected and processed through the Bio-Regen and Groundswell systems, with further expansion expected in 2019.

The liquid end product from the Bio-Regen system is collected by VRM and refined into a valuable bio-fertiliser, with several thousand litres of the JCU product on-sold to customers across Australia, the Philippines, USA and Indonesia. JCU also uses a small amount of the product on its sporting fields and community garden to help enhance soil health and reduce water use.