The New England state of Massachusetts is looking to have all restaurant patrons and owners have a “clean plate” when it comes to food scraps. The Energy and Environmental Affairs office for the state is looking to turn unwanted food into clean energy by enacting a ban on food waste disposal for commercial enterprises such as restaurants.
The plan, which is still in the preliminary stages, would require any business that generates a minimum of one ton of organic food waste per week to repurpose or donate the food. If approved, the plan would begin July 1, 2014. Most smaller, independent businesses would not meet the minimum threshold, but large restaurants, colleges, universities, large schools, hospitals, hotels and large office buildings with internal cafeterias would.
The plan would have collected food waste shipped to an anaerobic digestion facility for conversion into a biogas used in the creation of electricity and heat. Food scraps could also be shipped to a composting or animal-feed facility. The state is currently offering three million dollars in low-interest loans to private waste and recycling companies looking to develop their operations to include energy from organic waste production.
Organic food waste makes up close to twenty five percent of the waste stream being disposed of in landfills and incinerators. If enacted, the ban would help the state reach its goal of reducing the waste stream by thirty percent by 2020.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Food and organic waste has plenty of value – either as community donations, composting, animal feed, or as an energy source. If you’re still paying to dispose of your food waste, it’s time to look into solutions that could possibly save you money. By going green with food waste, you might save “green” every year!
For more information about AD, go to MassDEP’s website.