July 11 - Massachusetts Reveals Plans to Reduce Commercial Food Waste

Waste & Recycling News reports that Energy and Environmental Affairs for the state of Massachusetts plans to launch an ambitious plan to end food waste, at least for large commercial entities, in 2014.

Under the proposed plan, any commercial entity such as a large restaurant, hospital or hotel, that produces one ton of organic waste per week would be required to either repurpose or donate that food waste, beginning July 1, 2014. Options would include shipping the material to a facility that uses anaerobic digestion (AD) to convert food waste into a biogas, or sending it to be used in composting or animal-feed operations.

"Many grocery stores and environmentally conscious businesses across the state currently divert their food waste, saving money in the process," MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell said in a statement. "Diverting food waste to AD facilities creates value by reducing the waste stream,tapping into the energy within food wastes, reducing greenhouse gases,and producing a byproduct that can be resold as fertilizer or animal bedding."

The plan also includes incentives in the form of low-interest loans to private companies to build AD facilities in the state.

Here in California, food waste is the most common component in the waste stream even though one-third of the organic material that is sent to landfills can be easily recycled. When organic matter breaks rot in a landfill, Methane, a powerful Greenhouse Gas, is released into the atmosphere. Recycling the same organic matter in a facility such as CleanWorld’s Biodigester, located in Sacramento, and Kroger’s Anaerobic Digester, located in Compton, reduces GHG emissions from landfills and provides a source of renewable energy or fertilizer.

California is a proven leader in recycling and waste reduction policies; we should be looking for ways to incentivize the development of AD facilities rather than landfilling organic waste.

Find out more about the importance of recycling organic material.

Photo Credit: US EPA

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