Hennepin County wants to build a processing facility in Brooklyn Park that would convert meal scraps and other organic materials into natural gas, compost and fertilizer. The project is part of the county’s new climate action plan and part of its broader goal of being waste-free by 2050. The $45 million facility would put the county on the leading edge of urban recycling, and be the first in the Midwest to use a digester for food waste.
Cities and counties nationwide are looking at building similar digesters, and millions of dollars are pouring into researching the technology for a range of uses, including for agricultural waste. County officials estimate about 30% of the 700,000 tons of waste it produces annually is tossed food and paper products perfect for a digester.
Although some of the waste still ends up in landfills, the county brings the food scraps to two metro sites already running at maximum capacity. The capacity crunch is fueling the fresh urgency to build the new digester, McNary said. The county is hoping the anaerobic digestion facility will be operating by 2025.