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Turning Food Waste Into Energy – an Exciting New State Initiative

Organic matter makes up one-quarter of our waste; it is currently being landfilled or incinerated.  Here’s a new alternative for this waste: anaerobic digestion.  Anaerobic digestion is a technology that produces biogas from organic matter, which can then be used to generate electricity.

New state regulations, which take effect next July, ban hospitals, universities, hotels, and large restaurants — about 1,700 businesses and institutions — from discarding food waste in the trash.  Instead, this food waste will be sent to newly constructed anaerobic digester plants located throughout the state, which will convert it into energy and then feed that energy into the power grid.

State officials say that the food waste ban will be a crucial component of their overall efforts to reduce the waste stream by 30% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050.  The plan is to expand the program over time to include smaller businesses, and eventually, residential food waste.

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