Field Report: Biocycle Panel on Food Waste

corr_food_waste_circle_arrowsAt the Biocycle West Coast Conference yesterday, I spoke about Global Green's Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) program on a panel on Sustainable Solid Waste Scenarios. Panelists included Tobie Mitchell (Los Angeles County Department of Public Works), who presented on Los Angeles County's work with conversion technologies for municipal solid waste, and Kevin Drew (San Francisco Department of Environment), who presented on San Francisco's path to zero waste, and George Savage (CalRecovery, Inc.). Our presentation addressed the roughly 4,000 tons of residential and commercial food waste generated in New York City every day, as well as the environmental benefits and market opportunity for recovering value from the 1,640 tons per day of this amount that comes from the commercial sector, including NYC's 24,000 restaurants. Also outlined: support to date for increased food waste recovery by Mayor Bloomberg and New York City Council, including the 2011 Solid Waste Chapter of PlaNYC and the forthcoming food waste composting study.

With less than 5% of commercial food waste currently being composted, the time is now for increasing the amount, and opportunities to recover food waste for composting were discussed. Shared during the presentation:

  • Source reducing just 4% of New York City’s commercial food waste could save New York City businesses $47 million per year.
  • Opportunities for utilizing existing infrastructure, such as the Peninsula Compost facility in Wilmington, DE, which has the capacity to receive an additional 150 tons per day of food waste.
  • A profile of regional composting infrastructure and the financial case for building additional composting facilities nearby, in order to lower the costs to haulers resulting from truck depreciation, labor, and fuel.
  • Scenarios for integrating existing and new infrastructure for processing food waste at waste transfer stations, regional compost facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and anaerobic digestion facilities.
  • Siting opportunities for building new infrastructure and how to get involved with CoRR's initiative.