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Turning Food Waste into Renewable Energy

Each year, every American family throws out an average $640 worth of food. Much of it goes into landfills, decomposes, and turns into methane. Several cities have found new ways to convert leftovers into biogas to produce electricity. The City of Philadelphia mandated in-sink garbage disposals in all new construction in the hopes that residents pulverize their food scraps into a slurry for processing into fertilizer products and biogas to power the city’s wastewater treatment plants. Between 2012 and 2013, the pilot program reduced food waste from 175 homes by an average of 35 percent. The city estimates that it is saving about $3 million per year in trucking costs due to fewer trips to the landfill. Other cities around the country are following suit as they see the cost savings and environmental benefits of developing biogas projects.

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