Organics recycling is a critical component in the development of biogas, a form of renewable energy comprised of Methane and Carbon Dioxide, which are released when organic materials break rot in controlled conditions.
On the other hand, uncaptured Methane, which is created and released into the atmosphere when organic material is sent to the landfill, is a powerful Greenhouse Gas.
In Connecticut and Vermont, recent legislation has made the connection between large generators of food waste and waste generators that convert that waste into biogas.
Connecticut began in 2011 by passing Public Act 11-217 which required large producers of food waste (more than 104 tons per year) to divert it to recycling facilities if they were within 20 miles of a waste generator. Vermont took that a step further with Act 148, which gradually reduced the threshold for large food waste producers annually. This year, Connecticut reduced its original threshold.
According to Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council, this is the right approach.
"This approach, which requires organics diversion once local infrastructure exists, is the key to building biogas and composting companies in the U.S. and incentivizing the development of new, local businesses. It ensures that if a developer builds a system nearby, they’ll have organic waste to feed it. That’s the start of a viable business model, the creation of new jobs and infrastructure that protects and improves the environment."
CAW supports the development of organics recycling and composting programs and infrastructure in California. Ton for ton, recycling reduces more pollution, saves more energy and reduces GHG emissions more than any other activity besides source reduction.
Photo above: Kroger's Anaerobic Digester, the second largest in California. Courtesy PR Newswire.
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