Ten years after Glenn Nafziger began pork farming, he decided to
branch out. In 1990, he bought a sewage truck and started providing
septic removal services, and Perth Environmental
(www.PerthEnvironmental.com) was born. Based in Brunner, Ontario,
the company grew from one truck to eight trucks and moved from
septic services to providing collection and disposal service to the
food and beverage sector. With a growing fleet of six vac trailers,
two tank trucks and a bulk trailer, Perth Environmental can offer
disposal options for all types of waste generated by food and
beverage plants, namely sludges, grease interceptors, syrups,
sugars, brewery waste, soda pop and high strength wastewater.
Nafziger saw that a large volume of food waste meant
environmentally friendly practices needed to be developed. Also, he
saw a need to eliminate, or greatly reduce, land application, while
addressing capacity issues. So Nafziger spent about a year
researching, experimenting, designing, developing and consulting
experts in order to develop a method to process waste sludge and
recover the oil.
There were no business models or industry standards to study.
Nafziger was on his own. In 2007, his first step was to surround
himself with a team that could provide direction. This team
included his accountant, an engineer, a mechanical company, a
business development representative, a chemist, and various
representatives from laboratories.
Armed with a microwave, a turkey cooker, a heat exchanger and a
bench test centrifuge, he set about to determine the results of
heating collected food waste, with the goal of custom designing a
system for dealing with food waste removal and disposal. Nafziger
hired an engineering firm to support the system design and to help
determine the bio fuel potential of the end-product materials. It
was labour intensive, as their output samples had to be sent to
various labs in Canada and the United States to test nitrogen,
moisture, FFA (Free Fatty Acid) and BTU (British Thermal Unit)
Nafziger brought his sons, Steven and Christopher, on board.
Together, they decided to take the plunge and invest in
Nafziger's unique invention. The investment required was
significant, but would prove to be revolutionary in food waste
management. For over a year, Nafziger worked on constructing,
re-constructing, and fine-tuning the process that is in operation
today. Once it was perfected, the main building was transformed
into a waste recycling facility. Now, Perth Environmental uses a
process that is enormously beneficial in providing an alternative
to land application and landfill disposal of food waste. It also
provides a solution to high volume and capacity issues and the
associated high costs. And it all started with a microwave and a
So, how does it all work? Nafziger explains: "At our plant
in Brunner, Ontario, we empty the truck into large tanks that are
first heated then allowed to settle. In our tank, the settling has
oils and fat on top, water in the middle and solids on the
"The oil phase is further processed and refined, the solid
phase is removed and shipped to a nearby bio-digester and used to
produce electrical energy. The remaining water is then shipped to a
fully licensed water treatment facility for final
Now, not only does Perth Environmental save on disposal costs,
it also generates income with the oil that is sold from the end
process. Nafziger's company also receives waste from other food
Naturally, the greatest benefit of this process is the recycling
aspect and the impact it has on the environment in terms of
reducing land application and land fill disposal. Furthermore, the
oil recovered during the process is sold to the North American Bio
Nafziger's work has benefited the food sector, especially
processing plants, by providing safe and environmentally friendly
"cradle to grave" solutions for waste disposal. The
community has also benefitted in terms of employment. Nafziger
currently has 12 employees and as the business continues to grow,
plans are in place to increase that number.
Now, 25 years after it started, Perth Environmental works with
many of Ontario's largest food-related companies, providing its
services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With his fleet of
trucks they aim to provide excellent services while working to
shrink the environmental footprint.
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