The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing a ban that would require any operation that disposes of at least one ton of organic waste per week to donate or re-purpose the useable food, according to a news release. The ban calls for any remaining food waste to be shipped to an anaerobic digestion facility, a composting operation or an animal-feed business.
Residential food waste is not included in the ban, which would take effect July 1, 2014.
Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick has made $3 million in low-interest loans available to private companies building AD facilities to encourage the capturing of organic waste energy. The Mass. Department of Energy Resources (DOER) also is making $1 million available in grants for anaerobic digestion to public entities through the DEP’s Sustainable Materials Recovery Grant Program.
DEP and DOER awarded the first AD grant of $100,000 to the Massachusetts Water Resources Agency (MWRA) for its wastewater treatment plant. The MWRA currently digests sludge in 12 large chambers to help run the facility. A pilot project will introduce food waste into one of the chambers to determine the effects of co-digestion on operations and biogas production.
“Banning commercial food waste and supporting the development of AD facilities across the commonwealth is critical to achieving our aggressive waste disposal reduction goals,” said Rick Sullivan, secretary of the Boston-based Energy and Environmental Affairs, which oversees the state environmental and energy agencies.