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Food Waste

NY Food-Waste-to-Energy Pilot Expands

Food WasteNew York City will expand a pilot food-waste-to-energy program this fall.

The program, which launched last summer, diverts food from the waste stream and converts it into natural gas, Capital New York reports. The city expects the program to avoid about 90,000 metric tons of CO2.

Waste Management separates the uneaten food from the rest of the trash it collects.

During the pilot program, the city has processed between 1.5 tons and 2 tons of food waste daily. This will increase to 50 tons a day under the expanded program. The city hopes to eventually process 250 tons daily.

The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint, which processes the waste, could process up to 500 tons or 15 percent of the city’s residential organic waste, the newspaper reports.

In New York City’s other food-waste reduction efforts, its restaurants diverted more than 2,500 tons of food waste from landfills between May 2013 and November 2013. The food from 100 restaurants participating in the city’s voluntary Food Waste Challenge was used as compost or donated to food banks.



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2 thoughts on “NY Food-Waste-to-Energy Pilot Expands

  1. All of the steps and processes required to convert this food waste into natural gas require energy themselves, which creates emissions, and produces carbon.
    Does the amount of natural gas created make this worthwhile?
    When the natural gas produced is used as a fuel, it too will create carbon, so what are we proving?
    Let waste management give the usable food to food banks, and just trash the rest of it as compost.

  2. Ira, to the extent that the methane produced and burned for energy replaces any fossil-fuel natural gas, then this practice does indeed save extra carbon from being dumped into the atmosphere. The food waste being used as the source stream pulled carbon from the air as it was being grown, so re-injecting it’s embodied carbon via burning produces no net atmospheric CO2 increase (approximately). In contrast, extracting natural gas from fossil fuel deposits, preparing it, and delivering it to power plants to be burned; does increase the net amount of CO2 in the atmosphere – after all, it was long ago sequestered from the biome and was lying in underground geologic deposits until we pulled it out and burned it, which is why these things are called ‘fossil’ fuels.

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