Prison System Generates 200,000 Tons of Waste; Power Knot Offers Solutions

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America’s prison system generates a massive amount of waste that ends up in landfills or garbage disposals, contributing greatly to greenhouse gases and their hazardous effect on the environment. Founder and president of Power Knot, Iain Milnes, comments on effective ways to reduce food waste and improve the carbon footprint of the prison systems.

Iain Milnes, founder and president of Power Knot, advises correctional facilities in diverting food waste

Providing three square meals a day to every prisoner in a correctional facility is expensive, and on top of that, such meal programs generate a huge amount of waste.

In the United States, 2.3 million adults are confined to a jail or prison.1 The U.S. currently has more inmate facilities—over 5,000—than it has colleges or universities.1

According to a report by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, the cost of incarcerating over 2 million adults is a staggering $80 billion per year—the burden of which is shouldered by taxpayers,2 who foot the bill for many prison expenses such as food, maintenance and medical care.1 Considering that Aramark—the largest private provider of prison food—provides inmates with over 1 million meals per day, it’s clear that food alone can cost a locality precious funds that could be otherwise spent on community improvements.4

“Providing three square meals a day to every prisoner in a correctional facility is expensive, and on top of that, such meal programs generate a huge amount of waste,” said Iain Milnes, founder and president of Power Knot, a leading manufacturer of eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions for waste food disposal. “We estimate that over 200,000 tons of food waste is generated each year in American prisons. While certain materials such as paper, glass and plastic are normally recycled, uneaten food is often just thrown out.”

Waste management accounts for a large part of the operating costs within the prison system. Studies have repeatedly shown that paper and food waste account for a lion’s share—around 70%—of the waste generated in prisons.3 In a large correctional facility with around 4,000 prisoners, an excess of 2,000 lbs. of waste food can be generated each day.3 To lower operating costs, correctional facilities are tasked with finding ways to cost-effectively compost, eliminate, or dispose of such waste. Prisons have traditionally used large garbage disposals to reduce much of this waste, with the remainder being shipped away by waste management companies to be disposed of in landfills.5

“Traditional garbage disposals require a significant amount of water to operate and are not permitted in many jurisdictions,” said Milnes. “Food scraps that are hauled away produce greenhouse gases both in the landfill (in the form of methane emissions) and while on the way to the landfill (from the carbon dioxide emitted by transportation vehicles).”

Power Knot’s LFC® reduces food waste and eliminates the pests which may be attracted to garbage bins. Power Knot manufactures seven LFC models, which can treat up to 4,000 pounds of food waste per day—allowing any kitchen to cleanly and safely break down waste on-site. The LFC can help prisons move towards a zero-waste model, improve security because fewer trucks need to access the facility, and generate goodwill with the growing number of environmentally-conscious consumers in their communities.

In addition, the LFC can greatly reduce the cost of disposing of food waste in correctional facilities. A recent report found that green initiatives that reduce waste sent to landfills can save businesses up to $2 billion per year.6

About Power Knot’s LFC:

Power Knot’s LFC is sold globally to organizations that need to dispose of waste food. The LFC saves organizations the cost, mess, inconvenience, and carbon footprint of sending that organic material to a landfill. The LFC is available in seven sizes to suit a variety of users and can usually pay for itself in 24 or fewer months. The LFC can generate goodwill with the growing number of environmentally-conscious consumers, and this clean technology will continue to help advance the global movement towards sustainability and zero waste.

About Power Knot:

Power Knot, with its headquarters in San Jose, Calif., provides innovative solutions for commercial, industrial, and military customers seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. The company is profitable, and designs, develops, and manufactures its products in Silicon Valley.

Its LFCs (Liquid Food Composters) are high-quality, technologically-advanced bio-digesters capable of rapid digestion of most organic materials. LFCs create a safe and economical resolution for customers looking to address their carbon footprint by diverting waste food from landfills and by reducing emissions related to the transportation of waste.

LFCs represent long-term performance and sustainability for any organization. LFCs typically have a payback period of six to 24 months, based on reduced waste and costs of waste disposal. For more information, access http://www.powerknot.com.

1.    Ingraham, Christopher. “The U.S. Has More Jails than Colleges. Here’s a Map of Where Those Prisoners Live.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 6 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.

2.    Picchi, Aimee. “The High Price of Incarceration in America $80 Billion.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 8 May 2014. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.

3.    “Correctional Facilities.” California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). N.p., 18 May 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.

4.    Dayen, David. “The True Cost: Why the Private Prison Industry Is About so Much More Than Prisons.” Talking Points Memo. TPM Media LLC, 23 June 2016. Web. 29 Dec. 2016.

5.    U.S. Department of Justice and National Institute of Corrections. “The Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System.” Mar. 2011: page 11. Web. 29 Dec. 2016.

6.    ReFED. “A ROADMAP TO REDUCE U.S. FOOD WASTE BY 20 PERCENT.” 2016© 2016 ReFED (n.d.): n. pag. ReFED Report. ReFED, 2016. Web.

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Karla Jo Helms
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