Tulsa's Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Takes 'Green' Gamble

Thursday, March 31st 2011, 4:42 pm
By: News On 6

Emily Baucum, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma – Tulsa's Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is making a big gamble on green, but they're not talking money.

Think things get hot in the casino? Then stay out of the kitchen, where the sizzle is even more dizzying than the slot machines.

Jon Davidson, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: "On a Friday or Saturday night we'll feed 800 to 1,000 people through our buffet."
Emily Baucum, News On 6: "Easy."
Jon Davidson, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: "Easy."

Easy, huh? Well what about the food scraps that don't get eaten.

"They usually go down the disposal or they're going out in the trash, dumpster, to be hauled away," Davidson said.

But that was before the ORCA Green Machine came along. Turn the machine on and it does the hard part. Just call the ORCA the killer whale of trash.

"We tested it," Davidson said. "We gave it everything we had. Everything from the table scraps to the crab leg shells."

It's more than an oversized garbage disposal.

"The machine really works," Nathan Baker said. "It's the same theory of how your stomach works. Enzymes in your stomach break down the food."

Just like the human stomach, food is churned into liquid waste, going through tubes and flushing into the city's gray water system.

"Gray water is the same water that goes down your drain from your sinks and your showers," Baker said.

This machine has a big appetite, breaking down 1,200 pounds of food a day that ordinarily would be thrown away.

"It eliminates our need to haul it to the dumpster, put it down the disposal," Davidson said.

With a $39,000 dollar price tag, it's a gamble, but the casino says in order to save green, you have to be willing to take a risk.

Casino leaders say they expect to make back what they spent on the machine in just a few years.  Garbage companies charge by the ton, which means less trash and lower bills for years to come.

This is the same machine that was installed at the new Cowboy Stadium outside of Dallas in time for the Cotton Bowl.