Convert your food waste into renewable energy

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Food waste is a common part of our everyday lives.

“It’s fairly immoral to waste this much food,” sustainability manager Morgan Bowerman said. “Because we waste all this food while one in six adults in the U.S. are food insecure.”

Morgan Bowerman is the sustainability manager at Wasatch Resource Recovery, a waste management service in Salt Lake City, Utah.

She says reducing waste and feeding the hungry should be our first priorities, but food waste is still inevitable. When it goes to the landfill, it’s harmful for the environment.

“Putting food waste into the landfill is really inefficient use of our resources,” Bowerman said. “All of that food waste is going to break down and is going to release into our atmosphere and create a really potent greenhouse gas. Or we could capture it with anaerobic digestion technology.”

Anerobic digestion refers to breaking down food without oxygen. The process – which happens naturally in a landfill – creates methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But what if you could take that methane, and convert it to a renewable energy source?

Read the full article and watch the video here!

Here’s where your rotten kitchen scraps are turned into natural gas and fertilizer

Utah’s 2-year-old digester is accepting residential food waste such as spoiled produce, meat, bread and dairy products.

Got sour milk? Rotten lettuce? Moldy bread?

Don’t throw them in the trash.

That icky, spoiled foodstuff can now go to Utah’s giant food digester, where it will be turned into renewable natural gas and nutrient-rich soil.

Wasatch Resource Recovery is accepting small volumes of residential food waste — under 15 gallons per trip — from Utahns. Acceptable items include fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products and bread.

The food scraps can be dropped off — for free — just inside the facility gates at 1370 W. Center St., North Salt Lake.

Utah’s first anaerobic food digester revved up two years ago. Since then, this giant beast has been taking food waste from grocery stores, restaurants and other commercial food operations. (As well as 275 cases of beer from state liquor stores in 2019.)

The food is then transformed into natural gas and fertilizer.

The public drop-off service has been something the facility has wanted to offer since opening, sustainability manager Morgan Bowerman said in a news release.

Food sent to landfills, she said, does not break down as quickly as one might expect because it is not exposed to enough oxygen. And food that degrades slowly releases methane — a harmful greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere.

“We hope this will really take off,” she said of the public drop-off site, “and residents will embrace the opportunity to send us their food waste.”

Utah disposes of 275 cases of beer worth nearly $18,000. Why? Because the law says so.

North Salt Lake • The state agency charged with distributing and selling alcohol in Utah has disposed of thousands of gallons of drinkable beer worth almost $18,000.

On Friday — which was the unlucky 13th for people who hate to see beer get tossed — the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control transported 275 cases of bottles and cans from its Salt Lake City warehouse to Wasatch Resource Recovery in North Salt Lake. The products, DABC officials say, could no longer be sold in state-run liquor stores because of a new law that took effect in November.

Once the DABC shipment arrived, crews at the Davis County facility put the glass bottles through a depackaging process, sending the liquid ales and lagers into an aerobic digester — where they will mix with other food waste — and eventually be turned into natural gas and fertilizers.

Read the full Salt Lake Tribune article here!

State Recycling Remaining 3.2 Beer

NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah – Hundreds of cases of beer have been dumped down the drain in Utah as the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control clears out their supply.

Three pallets containing over 200 cases of 3.2 beer were destroyed Friday morning at Wasatch Resource Recovery in North Salt Lake.

“It’s kind of painful for beer drinkers,” said Braeden Adamson.

A self-described beer man himself and employee at Wasatch Resource Recovery, Braeden Adamson can relate to the pain of dumping beer.

However, the destruction of the beer was required by law. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control can no longer sell Utah’s 3.2 Beer at state liquor stores since being replaced with 5.0.

“With the new law, it’s time for a change,” said Adamson.

Read full article, and watch the video on KSL!

Unsold beer from state liquor stores gets turned into natural gas

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control destroyed a lot of beer Friday — in the name of obeying the law.

But all this beer from state liquor stores that used to be too strong for grocery stores isn’t just going down the drain. It’s being turned into methane gas and sold, while the glass and cardboard are recycled.

Wasatch Resource Recovery doesn’t just take in beer — they take in about 500 tons of food every day. So even destroying a whole state’s worth of old beer, to them, is nothing.

The DABC had to get rid of the beer because selling it would be illegal — the government is not allowed to compete with private businesses like grocery stores that now sell stronger beer.

Watch the video here on Fox13!

Digesting Thanksgiving Leftovers: One Utah Facility Turning Food Waste Into Energy

It’s nearly Thanksgiving, which means extra food — and extra food waste. But one man’s garbage is another’s renewable energy.

Wasatch Resource Recovery in North Salt Lake, Utah, is already taking in more than 350 tons of food waste every day, and it’s only at half capacity. While it started taking some food in February 2019, Morgan Bowerman said that the last few pieces of the facility will be in place in the next few weeks and the facility will be ready to take on more waste — and produce more natural gas.

Bowerman is the sustainability and resource recovery manager at the facility, and she said Wasatch Resource Recovery ’s anaerobic digesters work using microbes.

Listen here on NPR!

How this North Salt Lake plant will turn table scraps into natural gas

NORTH SALT LAKE — It is the only one of its kind in Utah, or the West for that matter, and it quietly occupies a patch of land in North Salt Lake, gobbling up the food waste from yogurt manufacturers, used restaurant oil, bad batches of beer, soda pop and discarded produce from grocery stores.

“What we did is build a synthetic animal out here,” said Morgan Bowerman, sustainability manager for Wasatch Resource Recovery.

Food waste is the largest waste stream in the United States, with an estimated 40% of the food produced in the country ending up never consumed.

Read the full Deseret News article here!

The Food Waste Place: Wasatch Resource Recovery’s Anaerobic Digester

Until this year, most of the organic waste from restaurants, grocery stores and food-manufacturing plants throughout the valley had one ignominious end: the landfill. Our discarded foodstuffs just lie there, gassing off methane into the atmosphere and can take up to 25 years to decompose a mere head of lettuce. But now, there’s a much better option, thanks to Wasatch Resource Recovery’s brand-spanking-new anaerobic digester facility, which opened its doors this February. Located in the South Davis Sewer District, this enormous facility takes in every variety of organic/food waste and recycles it into useable natural gas and high-quality organic fertilizer.

Read the full SLUG MAG article here!

Utah Facility Turns Old Food Into Renewable Energy

NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah – A Utah facility has come up with what they call a solution to the food waste problem while creating natural energy.

“This really is the solution along the Wasatch Front for food waste,” said Morgan Bowerman, resource recovery and sustainability manager with Wasatch Resource Recovery.

Bowerman said the facility gives grocery stores, restaurants and food producers another option instead of sending their food waste to a landfill.

Read full article, and watch the video on KSL!

No more free bags, a cannabis vendor and other news as Salt Lake City’s Downtown Farmers Market opens Saturday

Waste not • The market will continue its push to be a zero-waste event. Once again, there will be no plastic bottles sold, Einerson said. This year, Wasteless Solutions will be collecting and transporting still-edible produce and food products to the hungry. Food that no longer can be donated will be hauled to Wasatch Resource Recovery’s new digester. The North Salt Lake facility turns food waste into natural gas and fertilizer.

Read the full Salt Lake Tribune article here!