EPA to Award $43,551 to Food Waste Management and Infrastructure Project in Vermont

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News Releases from Region 01

04/09/2019

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Montpelier, VT — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation was selected to receive funding for projects to help reduce food waste and loss and divert food waste from landfills by expanding anaerobic digester capacity in the United States. These projects further the federal government’s efforts set forth in the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative.

“Last fall, EPA, USDA, and FDA came together to create the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative to elevate and streamline our efforts across the federal government,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Funding these innovative projects not only demonstrates EPA’s commitment to this initiative, but also supports waste management infrastructure that can transform food waste into fuel or fertilizer.”

Anaerobic digestion is a process used in waste management to break down organic materials such as food waste, scraps, manure and sewage sludge that could otherwise contribute to methane emissions in landfills. Through this process, food waste gets a second useful life as renewable energy, fertilizers and soil additives.

“Vermont makes the finest beer, cheese, and other specialty food products in the nation, but businesses and town wastewater treatment facilities may not have the infrastructure needed to handle high strength wastes like whey and spent brewery yeast,” said Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Emily Boedecker. “With this grant funding we can help food and beverage makers send waste to nearby anaerobic digesters, turning a waste problem into an energy resource.”

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has been selected to receive $43,551 of EPA funds to purchase and install storage tanks and pipes and conduct wastewater sampling for five food and beverage businesses. This infrastructure will enable these businesses to anaerobically digest their organic waste.

Other entities selected for this funding include:

The City of Madison, Wisconsin has been selected to receive $39,000 of EPA funds to assess the feasibility of developing a regional organic waste collection program for the city and surrounding communities in Dane County. If deemed viable, this organic waste collection program and digestion facility could create biogas and compost from organic materials that are discarded by households, restaurants and grocery stores.

The Washington State University’s Energy Program has been selected to receive $27,500 of EPA funds to conduct workshops in Washington state that promote anaerobic digestion projects by wastewater treatment facilities, food processing companies, municipal solid waste agencies, and agriculture producers. The workshops will include detailed market knowledge and innovative approaches to sharing costs in developing anaerobic digestion infrastructure.

EPA anticipates the next round of funding for local anaerobic digestion infrastructure will take place later in 2019.

Background: In the United States, around 95 percent of the food we discard ends up in landfills and combustion facilities. Anaerobic digestion is a strategy used to help address this problem and is included in EPA’s food recovery hierarchy, a tool developed by EPA that is used by those outside the federal government looking to implement effective food waste reduction strategies that work best for their unique businesses and communities. Today, EPA along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is hosting an event where state and local governments, as well as their non-profit partners, will share best practices on these and other strategies in the hierarchy that have helped reduce food waste in their communities. To view the event live, beginning at 2 p.m. ET, visit www.epa.gov/live.

For more information on anaerobic digestion, visit https://www.epa.gov/anaerobic-digestion.

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