Tasty Technologies: A New Food Waste Paradigm

Evan Bue

Ecova’s been spending a lot of time talking about food waste and hopefully you still have room for more. Our most recent offerings culminated with last week’s webinar Starving the Landfills: Food Waste 201. We discussed current regulations, emerging technologies, and how Data, Insight, and Action are the pillars to creating a successful food waste program. We even learned how NYC’s Chelsea Market used this knowledge to turn its own trash into serious bottom line savings.

But you still have questions, and many of them center around the emerging technologies to support successful food waste programs.

1. What is an anaerobic digester?

An anaerobic digester houses anaerobic digestion, which is the primary process used in most technologies dealing with food waste. However, different digesters can use the biological process in different ways, allowing a diverse range of solutions for a variety of industries.

2. Are there companies that are using this now?

New York’s Chelsea Market provides tenants the use of digesters that allow food waste to be converted into grey water. This new byproduct can then be disposed of via any facilities’ normal plumbing and eventually cleaned and repurposed at the local waste water treatment plant.

3. What other technologies are out there?

There are also technologies that allow you to repurpose food waste into a valuable commodity. Seattle’s Pike Place Market utilizes equipment that allows for the conversion of food waste into liquid fertilizer. This nutrient rich fluid can then be used to nourish on-site produce production, creating a cyclical and infinitely reusable resource that helps satisfy patrons’ longing for environmentally sound practices.

4. Are there industrial uses for food waste?

A Washington State landfill uses technology that is able to capture the methane and carbon-based gases that are released through naturally occurring anaerobic digestion. These gases, when refined, can be used to power vehicles, heat homes, and even generate electricity.

5. Why is food waste technology important now?

As our linear economy is stretched to its limit, a new cyclical model is needed. Technology will serve a critical role in helping shape this new paradigm and food waste looks to be a prime driver for such change.

With an evolving industry and technological innovations, your food waste has the potential to become an asset rather than a detriment. And, with good data, valuable insight and decisive action, your bottom line, your customer and the earth will reap the benefits.

We will be sure to keep you informed every step of the way.

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