How Waste Management Plans to Turn the Food You Throw Away into Renewable Energy

by , 08/05/14

Waste Management, source separated organic, SSO equipment, New York City, renewable energy, waste disposal, recycling, compost, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Varick Avenue Waste Transfer Station, food refuse, paper, wood scraps, yard trimmings, anaerobic digestion facility, George McGrath, reusable materials, 215 Varick Avenue

That lasagna you couldn’t finish and the broccoli that went bad in your fridge could soon be turned into renewable energy if Waste Management has its way. The waste disposal and environmental services company is hoping to launch an experimental pilot program to separate food and other compostable waste (which currently accounts for about 30 percent of NYC trash) so that it can be turned into a source of renewable energy. To do so, WMNY has filed a permit with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to activate source separated organic (SSO) equipment to process organic waste at its Varick Avenue solid waste transfer station in East Williamsburg.

Instead of simply dumping everything into a landfill, SSO equipment would add an extra sorting step to separate out food refuse, paper, wood scraps, and yard trimmings. Under the proposed plan, Waste Management would use SSO equipment within the city area for the first time in history. If the pilot program proves to be successful, it could be expanded to even more locations throughout New York.

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The second step to the process after sorting would be to take some of the collected material and put it to good use by creating compost. Alternatively the organic material could be brought to anaerobic digestion facilities where it would be digested as feedstock to produce a form of renewable energy known as biogas – essentially turning the farts coming out of bacteria into burnable gas.

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“New York City has efforts under way to divert this material from the waste stream for composting and generation of renewable energy,” said George McGrath, a spokesperson for WMNY. “WMNY is installing the SSO equipment at the Varick facility as part of a demonstration project to test the effectiveness of this technology in converting food waste to a renewable energy source.”

+ Waste Management New York

via Green Point News

Images © hadkhanong /, and Clyde Robinson