Processing food waste prior to being placed in the anerobic digester. Photo: Environmental Protection Agency
With a little help from the EPA, the East Bay Municipal Utility District in is set to expand its food waste-to-energy program at its main wastewater treatment plant in Oakland, California. The anaerobic digester has been in place since 2004, the plan is now to up the amount of food waste processed into biogas from the current 90 tons per week to 200 tons:
Food Waste Biogas Could Power 2.5 Million Homes Nationally
The whole thing is perfectly fine, but if you're wondering what the big deal about just chucking your food waste in the landfill and perhaps have been a bit uncertain why we're always telling you about the virtues of composting, here are a few quick facts (again, thanks to the EPA for pulling these out) to supply the context.
- In the United States as a whole some 30 million tons of food waste are dumped into landfills every year, with a mere 3% of food waste being diverted for composting or being put to better use.
- If 50% of food waste was used in anaerobic digesters to make energy, we could supply electricity to 2.5 million homes for a year.
- Landfills are the second largest source of human-produced methane in the nations, with food waste being a major contributing factor in that.