Leftover holiday food converted to renewable energy

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Over the holiday season there’s an increase in the amount of waste produced, with a large percentage of that waste being food. The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority says their Food 2 Energy program allows residents to recycle unwanted food scraps.

“We can take leftover food scraps. It can be in a plastic bag, it can still be in food packaging and we have a faciltiy that’s actually designed to take those bags of food scraps. We want food that’s otherwise inedible.” – Jamie Tuttle, Recycling Educator, Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority

Once in their facility, the food goes through a depackaging system and the separated organics gets squeezed through a series of screens. This forms a slurry, which is a mixture of solids and water, and it’s taken next door to the oneida county’s waste water treatment plant. From there, it goes into an anerobic digestor.

“Anerobic digestion is like composting with no air. So we are actually able to recover 100% of the methane that comes from your organics and it’s being used to create electricity to power the waste water treatment plant rather then sending all of this leftover food scraps to the landfill.” – Jamie tuttle, Recycling Educator, Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority

The food can be dropped off and placed right inside of the the Food 2 Energy container. Aside from the environmental benefits, there’s also an economic incentive.

“It costs $62 a ton to bring your garage to us in Oneida and Herkimer counties, the Food 2 Energy or organics are only $40 per ton. And we have all of the resources available to help you get your system set up so that you can train staff employees and work with your hauling to bring it down here rather then sending all of those food scraps to the landfill.” – Jamie Tuttle, Recycling Educator, Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority

For more information visit their website at ohswa.org.

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