The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced April 9 that Madison, Wisconsin, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and Washington State University's Energy Program have been selected to receive funding for projects to help reduce and divert food scrap from landfills by expanding anaerobic digester capacity in the U.S. These projects further the federal government's efforts set forth in April’s Winning on Reducing Food Waste initiative, the agency says.
“Last fall, EPA, USDA and FDA came together to create the Winning on Reducing Food Waste initiative to elevate and streamline our efforts across the federal government,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Funding these innovative projects not only demonstrates EPA’s commitment to this initiative, but also supports waste management infrastructure that can transform food waste into fuel or fertilizer.”
Anaerobic digestion is a process used in waste management to break down organic materials, such as food scraps, manure and sewage sludge that could otherwise contribute to methane emissions in landfills. Through this process, food scraps get a second life as renewable energy, fertilizers and soil additives.
Madison, Wisconsin has been selected to receive $39,000 of EPA funds to assess the feasibility of developing a regional organic waste collection program for the city and surrounding communities in Dane County. If deemed viable, this organics collection program and digestion facility could create biogas and compost from organic materials that are discarded by households, restaurants and grocery stores, the agency says
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has been selected to receive $43,551 of EPA funds to purchase and install storage tanks and pipes and conduct wastewater sampling for five food and beverage businesses. This infrastructure will enable these businesses to anaerobically digest their organics.
The Washington State University’s Energy Program has been selected to receive $27,500 of EPA funds to conduct workshops in Washington state that promote anaerobic digestion projects by wastewater treatment facilities, food processing companies, municipal solid waste (MSW) agencies and agriculture producers. The workshops will include detailed market knowledge and innovative approaches to sharing costs in developing anaerobic digestion infrastructure.
EPA anticipates the next round of funding for local anaerobic digestion infrastructure will take place later in 2019.