Food waste is a huge issue for landfills and the environment, but one company in California is working to digest food waste into renewable natural gas.
Looking at satellite images, the biggest methane producers in the state of California are landfills, which is due to the sheer amount of food waste in the state’s landfills.
Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority and Anaergia, a renewable energy company, are teaming up to demonstrate how wastewater facilities that are already in place can be converted into resource recovery centers.
"What I never envisioned was the fact that we could do something this significant with regards to what it does for the environment," said Darren Poulsen, the general manager of VVWRA.
Last year, Victor Valley landfill repurosed its 330,000-gallon digesters to process food waste. The landfill is now the first wastewater treatment plant in the state to inject renewable natural gas made from wastewater solids and food waste into a utility pipeline.
"Post-consumer food waste. We're talking about food waste that comes from outdated milk products and outdated food products that would normally make its way to a landfill, now come here," said Poulsen.
California state laws require that each municipality must divert 75% of its organic material away from landfills by 2025. Judging the by proximity and size of the Victor Valley facility shows that this process can be done at virtually any wastewater treatment facility.
"When you think about the fact my staff here at a wastewater treatment plant already knows how to operate digesters, they already know how to handle gas. It's utilizing a great resource that every community has and we could all put this technology to use," said Poulsen.