March 26 - Pilot Program Diverts Food Waste in Humboldt County

Humboldt Waste Management Authority launched a pilot program last fall aimed at diverting food waste from landfills, with an end-goal of using an anaerobic digester to convert food waste to energy.

According to a story in the Times-Standard, the project would reduce the costs of landfilling food waste, which contributes to greenhouse gas levels when the material is converted to methane and released into the atmosphere. The anaerobic digester locks out oxygen, which allows microorganisms to break down the food waste. The resulting biogas (methane and carbon dioxide) can be captured for energy and the remaining organic matter may be used as compost.

"It's not new technology, just a new application to a proven process," project manager Juliette Bohn said. "There's a lot of interest in this project; so far all firms see this project to be economically viable. Why take our compostable waste hours away when we can do it here and make a higher value product?"

The pilot program currently has 45 participating food establishments in Eureka, with the food waste collected now being transported to a composting facility in Ukiah.

Food waste makes up about 30 percent of landfilled materials.

Assembly member Wesley Chesbro has introduced AB 323 to address the issue of organic waste, including food waste. The bill would require businesses that generate a lot of food scraps or yard waste to subscribe to recycling for this material.

Take Action by sending a support letter to your assembly member.

Photo Credit: Times Standard