Massachusetts to Propose Big Businesses Separate Food Waste From Trash

Environmental officials in Massachusetts have begun working on a proposal that would  require large businesses and universities to separate food waste from trash by 2014.

Massachusetts Environmental Commissioner Kenneth Kimmel says rather than allow food waste to rot in landfills and give off methane – a gas linked to global warming – officials want to turn food waste into energy. He adds while this is already underway in the bay state, the goal is to widen the effort.

“Groceries stores are now diverting about half of their food wastes. Instead of throwing into the trash that food is now going to farms to be composted and so it is a continuation of some efforts but spreading them out into other sectors,” he said.

One such sector, Kimmel says, IS anaerobic digestion facilities which will burn waste to create a renewable bio-gas that can be used as energy and heat.   Peter Christie is the CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. He says he supports the idea but IS concerned about the plan’s feasibility. 

“In the case of a resturant you can’t have food waste hanging around for obvious reasons. There might be people around to pick it up but I don’t know of them presently.,” he said.

In the next two years, MassDEP hopes to divert 450 tons of waste a year to compost or anaerobic facilities. Kimmel says Massachusetts has ambitious renewable energy goals. AND, He says, this proposal will help bring the state closer to achieving some of those goals.