Grinding Up Large Quantities Of Food Waste

“I work in the produce department at our local grocery store. I have access to, literally, hundreds of pounds of waste EVERY DAY – watermelon rinds, rotten cantaloupes, and tons other stuff that’s slightly passed its prime. You have repeatedly mentioned the benefits of grinding all this up before feeding it to my worms. I get that.  But, how do I do it in the most efficient way? Is there a grinder on the market that you would recommend? Thanks.” ~ Len

Hi Len,

Your situation sounds quite familiar to me.

Last summer I launched a vermicomposting project with a local restaurant and ended up with access to similar quantities of fruit/veggie waste. I guess the disadvantage of my particular situation however, was the fact that I agreed to take ALL of their compostable waste!

As a result of this misguided optimism on my part (haha), I eventually had discontinue to the project altogether due to the incredible amount of time/effort required.

As for how to grind up large quantities of food waste in the most efficient manner – that is certainly a great question.

After spending many, many hours chopping up fruit/veggie waste in garbage cans with a shovel, I can at least tell you that this method – while effective – just isn’t a viable long-term approach when you are dealing with these quantities of wastes.

That being said, if you are only planning to take home a fraction of the food waste being produced by your store, perhaps you might consider this method. After all, it is very cheap, and it greatly speeds up the decomposition process.

Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be a ‘grinder’ out there that is A) reasonably affordable for us ‘little guys/gals’, and B) effective for this purpose. I suspect that the closest thing to a viable mechanized solution would be to use a standard mid-scale chipping machine (one used to chop up brush etc).

I can’t speak from personal experience, but I suspect these machines would be effective for chopping up food wastes, although there may be issues with excessively wet materials.

A ‘tub grinder’ would probably offer the ultimate solution, but alas there just doesn’t seem to be one designed for small-scale applications.

If anyone else knows of a potential small-scale (and affordable) grinder on the market, I would certainly like to know about it (and will share the info in a future newsletter).

Sorry I can’t be of greater assistance, Len – perhaps one of our readers (with more experience in this area) will be able to help!

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