The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem’s trash bill just got a lot lower.
This week, the Bethlehem casino installed two aerobic food digesters that will reduce its monthly trash load by 20 to 30 tons.
Each machine can break down up to 2,500 pounds of organic trash a day. The digesters use microorganisms to turn leftover food waste into grey water, which can then be discharged into the sewer system.
“It digests the food sort of like your stomach would do,” explained Steven Fernstrom, Sands’ sustainability manager.
The Sands started piloting a smaller digester in the staff dining room three years ago and its been a success, spokeswoman Julia Corwin said.
Food digesters have been around for about a decade, but they’ve gained popularity in New York City after a law passed requiring certain businesses to separate their organic waste, Fernstrom said.
The digesters are in line with Sands’s corporate sustainability initiative, which emphasizes minimizing its environmental impact and reducing waste, he said.
All of the food waste from the six Sands dining venues on-site, like celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants, casino meeting spaces and team member dining rooms will be recycled.
Staff just have to dump the food into the digester, close the lid and it begins churning the food and breaking it down. The machine weighs the load and then sends real time data to a cloud-based dashboard, so Fernstrom and the staff can monitor how much it disposes of and how it works.
The Sands partners with the nearby Donegan Elementary School and has added a sustainability component. Students get to visit the property and learn about how 90 percent of the lighting is now LED, that the casino recycles 20-plus items every day and that about 40 percent of its waste is diverted from landfills.
Students already loved seeing the smaller digester in action during the beta testing.
“We have them help out and put the food in it and they go crazy for it,” Fernstrom said.
The Donegan students will be visiting soon to see the new digesters in action.