Recycling and Litter Prevention Community Grant Success Story: Akron Zoo

Since 2011, the Akron Zoo has diverted more than 3.6 million pounds of organic waste from landfills. Previously, the zoo had been using an outside vendor who would collect their organic waste and take it to a composting facility. After experiencing changes with their initial organic hauler and increasing limitations on acceptable organic material, Akron Zoo decided to look for alternative solutions for their organic waste to help them reach their long-term goal of being a zero-waste organization. After evaluating their options, the Akron Zoo decided that the Big Hanna in-vessel composting unitwas best suited for their needs. The finished compost produced in four to six weeks, is used at the Akron Zoo for soil amendment and for landscaping through partnerships by groups like Keep Akron Beautiful and Let’s Grow Akron.

The community development grant from Ohio EPA’s Recycling and Litter Prevention Program (R&LP), along with match funds from Akron Zoo, were used to pay for the composting unit and other equipment. The Big Hanna unit will allow the zoo to compost 20,000 pounds of organic waste annually, including some typically difficult items to compost like vegetable flatware and animal waste. The Big Hanna and the building that encloses it serves as a model and educational opportunity for the zoo and its visitors to learn about sustainability. The zoo has hosted more than 200 tours of the facility, including institutions like Akron Public Schools, Kent State University and Goodyear. Akron Zoo has collaborated with other organizations such as the University of Akron by using some of their organic waste.

Through the R&LP community and litter grants, Ohio EPA offers funds to local governments of up to $200,000 per applicant for the collection and processing of recyclables. Communities and non-profits can also receive funding to implement litter collection events and tire amnesty programs. A 25 percent match from the applicant is required and the grant period is 12 months. For more information about Ohio EPA’s community and litter grants, visit or contact Dave Foulkes at or (614) 644-3118.

Reclaim ownership, RFID reader give a new possibility to compost separated collected bio waste locally

We believe that people want to take back responsibility and fight climate change locally and are willing to do so wherever they live, work or enjoy life. We believe in giving back the power to choose a system to where the system is going to be implemented. We believe that decentralized solutions are the best way to make our world sustainable. Our flexible small-scale systems allow you to control the input and by that the quality of the compost.

Big Hanna is now introducing an RFID reader which gives our customers a number of new opportunities:

  • A municipality can show that food waste is composted at source (and also how much!) which gives opportunity for EU funding when diverting food waste from landfill.
  • It is possible to give discounts on waste collection fees to citizens who compost their food waste, enforcing the ‘Polluter pays’ principle locally.
  • Visualize how much food waste is composted locally and by whom and use that information as a tool to minimize food waste which always should be the number one target.
  • Several houseowners can use one Big Hanna composter and share the operational cost based on usage.

For many years Big Hanna composter has been installed in housing areas where the customers have put their food waste directly into the Big Hanna composters.

By using RFID technology, we now make it possible to install a Big Hanna composter in public areas while controlling who can put the food waste into the composter.  

When installing a RFID reader on the inlet of the composter only persons who holds a valid RFID tag/card can put food waste into the Big Hanna composter

The touch panel log at what time and which tag/card opens the inlet. When the RFID reader is combined with a scale the logfile will also show how much food waste is composted by each tag holder. The log file can easily be downloaded to a USB stick or emailed directly from the touch panel.

A tag reader on the ‘Big Hanna composter’ inlet lid. The lid has a lock so the lid only can be opended when a valid RFID tag is shown.

Two tag readers can read the same tag. One RFID reader opens the entrance to the waste site and one RFID reader opens the lid on the composter.

Big Hanna composter makes it possible for a group of people to easily compost food waste in a densly populated area and the high quality and clean compost can be used directly in the neighborhood.

More information about the ‘Scales and RFID Setup’

Contact us or our distributors to discuss a solution for your specific site: 

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