Food Scraps to Green Energy Food scraps are the second largest portion of garbage going into landfills in the United States, accounting for over 30 million tons each year. Food waste is one of the most important materials to divert from landfills as they decompose to create methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that contributes to climate change.
In order to decrease food waste and mitigate global warming, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is pioneering an innovative method of taking food scraps from restaurants and commercial food processors and using them as a valuable commodity to produce green renewable energy through anaerobic digestion, with the remains going to compost.
Specifically, food scrap (organic, compostable kitchen wastes) diversion began in a phased approach on July 1, 2014 targeting food scrap generators greater than 2 tons per week and located within 20 miles of certified (composting, anaerobic digestion) facility. Food waste generators are exempt from recycling their materials if there is not a composting or anaerobic digestion facility within 15 miles of the institution’s location. The Center for EcoTechnology has developed the Wasted Food Solutions website that highlights resources from Rhode Island.