EPA) recently announced the selection of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) to receive $300,000 in funding to help reduce food waste by diverting food waste from landfills and expanding anaerobic digester capacity North Texas. “Finding solutions to better curb food waste continues to be a top priority for the Trump administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This year’s round of innovative community projects is focusing on ways to reduce food waste at the local and state levels and divert it from landfills.”
“This study will help communities find solutions that divert food waste from landfills by using anaerobic digesters,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “In 2017 alone, more than 30 million tons of food waste ended up in our nation’s landfills, comprising 22% of all landfill waste, even more than plastics. We are excited to partner with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to expand regional efforts to reduce food waste from landfills, which will reduce hazardous air pollutants and save valuable landfill space.”
The NCTCOG, partnering with the University of Texas at Arlington, will coordinate with stakeholders in the North Central Texas region to complete a North Central Texas Food Waste to Fuel Feasibility Study. The Study will advance regional efforts to divert food waste, and other organics, from landfills to preserve landfill capacity; increase regional renewable energy opportunities; and, evaluate the potential to reduce fleet emissions. EPA anticipates that it will make the award once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
The anaerobic digestion funding opportunity is a part of EPA’s efforts and contributions to the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, a partnership among EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration, to reduce food loss and waste through individual and combined federal action. Anaerobic digestion is a process where microorganisms break down organic materials, such as food scraps, manure and sewage sludge, all in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic digestion produces biogas, which can be captured and used for energy production, and “digestate,” a nutrient-rich product, such as a fertilizer.
Anaerobic digestion is a strategy included in EPA’s food recovery hierarchy that is preferable to landfilling/incineration because it reclaims valuable resources. Keeping food waste from landfills, such as transforming it into fuel or fertilizer, can save money and reduce environmental impacts.