Case Study Intermountain Healthcare

Intermountain Healthcare, together with their hauling partner Momentum Recycling, began diverting their food waste to Wasatch Resource Recovery’s anaerobic digestion facility in November 2018. So far, they have redirected over 80 tons of food waste from the landfill! They have also generously provided us with grant funds to implement a pilot program for residential food waste pickup.

Being such a large organization that encompasses a broad geographical area, we recognize there are many challenges that come with implementing an organics’ diversion program. Intermountain’s efforts have been impressive and we wanted to know more!

Check out our conversation with Steffani LeVels (Intermountain Healthcare System Waste Stream Program Manager) and Glen Garrick (Intermountain Healthcare Sustainability Director). They provide unique and valuable perspectives on how to implement a successful food waste diversion program, and how Intermountain has overcome various challenges.

  1. Did it take a long time to convince key decision makers to sign up for the program? What convinced them?

GG> Diverting food waste is a rare win-win decision in that it is good for the environment and it’s good for the organization financially. Though we have other operational challenges, getting executive level support is easy when a win-win situation is laid out to them.

  1. What are some of the challenges your location(s) have faced in sending food waste to Wasatch Resource Recovery?

SL> The biggest challenge is the workflow in getting the food waste outside to the Momentum containers because not all docks can stage the containers. Also, not all kitchens have a close exit to stage the outside bins. This can actually be a safety concern so you must have a clear safe work flow for staff to follow.

GG> The other primary challenge we have at Intermountain is the rural nature of a large number of healthcare sites. Getting organic waste to the Wasatch Resource Recovery is problematic when dealing with rural or remote locations.

  1. What surprised you about food waste diversion? Good or bad.

SL> We were surprised we could bag the food waste!

GG> Organic diversion is seen as a priority but until Wasatch Resource Recovery came along, it was very difficult to identify locations to send the organic waste. The Wasatch Resource Recovery opportunity is a great resource for the SLC region.


  1. What would you say to other organizations that are interested in pursuing food waste diversion to WRR? Any tips or suggestions?

SL> Go for it because we have this amazing opportunity in Utah and all that can participate should. Also, we get push back that it’s going to smell or get rodents but we have not had this problem. Last, find your environmental champions in the organization because they will help the program be successful. 

  1.   What other sustainability initiatives is your organization pursuing or involved in?

SL> We are pursuing a 45% recycling goal and food waste diversion falls under that goal. Food waste is some of the heaviest material in the trash, so reducing the amount that gets hauled to the landfill will help us achieve this goal.

GG> In addition to recycling goals, Intermountain currently has 9 environmental sustainability fundamentals. The 9 fundamentals are, Clean Air, Decarbonization & Climate Resilience, Efficient Energy Use, Efficient Water Use, Environmental Health, Sustainability Leadership, Sustainable Procurement, Regenerative Land Use, Waste Reduction, Reuse, & Recycling, and Sustainability Leadership. 

  1.     Anything else you would like to share?

SL> We encourage all community members that have the opportunity to properly dispose of food waste do so. We look forward to seeing how the program grows for residential customers. Our experience and support from WRR has been great!

GG> Intermountain prioritizes leading by example. We hope that staff, clients, and community members will be inspired to make changes at home.

WRR is thrilled to be partnering with Intermountain! They are a shining example of a company committed to sustainability and working diligently to implement successful programs. To get your business involved, please reach out to our team.

Case Study – Oatly: Local Solutions

Oatly started sending food waste to Wasatch Resource Recovery in February of 2021, as they began production at their new facility in Ogden. Oatly aims to “drive a societal shift towards a plant-based food system for the benefit of people and the planet, and away from a food system that recklessly taxes the environment.” They are also strong proponents of utilizing local “creative solutions to make our production more sustainable.” This is where WRR comes in!

Oatly produces a variety of products –  from their original oatmilk to frozen desserts to oatgurt. During the process of manufacturing oatmilk, they produce an oat fiber byproduct. One of Oatly’s main goals is to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills and, when they discovered Wasatch Resource Recovery, they knew it would be a good fit for this material.

“We were excited to partner with Wasatch Resource Recovery to repurpose the oat fiber and any of our other organic waste to produce renewable energy. What’s great is that through the program, we don’t just avoid the environmental impact of sending our waste to a landfill, we help make green energy more available for the local area.”

We asked Oatly if they had advice for other large scale food producers and distributors when it comes to rethinking food waste and they said,

“Don’t get complacent with the way things have always been and always keep your ear to the ground for good, local solutions. Since we make oatmilk all over the world, we’ve been able to find uses for our byproduct that make sense for each local area, whether that be working with farmers or finding partners like Wasatch Resource Recovery.”

One of the biggest challenges we hear about is how difficult it can be for groups to make changes company-wide. Oatly’s approach – looking at each distribution and production location individually and finding innovative solutions locally, is truly inspiring!  

So far, Oatly has diverted over 9,000 tons of oat fiber byproduct and other organic waste – that is equivalent to approximately 17 million cubic feet of natural gas, or ~280 homes heated for an entire year. Incredible! 

Tips to Reduce Food Waste When Traveling

Traveling is a great way to see new places, visit family and friends, and experience new things! However, when you are out of your routine it can be difficult to plan, and you may often end up wasting food. Here are some easy tips to reduce food waste on your next adventure, whether it be by car, plane, train or your own two feet!

  • Eat or give away all leftovers and food that may spoil before you leave on your trip.
  • Pack your own snacks in reusable containers.
  • Bring a small resealable bag to store any food scraps to compost or bring home.
  • Look for diversion opportunities
    • Programs like WRR’s public drop-off
    • Restaurants that redirect food waste from the landfill
  • Pack long lasting foods that will not spoil quickly
    • Canned/jarred foods
    • Dehydrated foods
    • Dried fruit vs. fresh
    • High protein snacks such as protein bars or nus
  • Make a meal or two ahead of time to avoid having lots of leftovers and nowhere to store them.
  • Bring a small cooler to keep food from spoiling.
  • If staying at a hotel or AirBnB, try to book a place with a kitchen. This makes it easier to buy only as much food as you will need, and you can prepare your own meals (this saves money too!).
  • Keep extra packets of condiments from takeout to use while traveling.
  • Oftentimes restaurants serve portions too large for one person to eat. If you do not have a way to store leftovers, consider sharing an entrée or ordering a half portion so none goes to waste!
  • Avoid staying at restaurants with buffets. Buffets are often extremely wasteful as the food that is uneaten is simply throw away.
    • If there is no other option, ask to take some food with you to eat later


Remember, none of us are perfect. There will inevitably be a bit of food wasted during a trip but using some of these strategies can help! If you have any ideas we did not share here, let us know.

Summer Food Waste Saving Tips!

Summer is one of the best times of the year. Warm weather and long days make for so many fun activities! Unfortunately, many of these outdoor events make for a lot of food waste. Check out some of these easy and helpful tips to reduce food waste this summer.

  • BBQ or cook out? Remind guests to bring a reusable container for leftovers! There is usually too much food for the host to eat after an event, so giving each guest a bit to take home reduces waste and makes for an easy lunch the next day.
  • Search for fun and creative recipes to use leftovers from a BBQ!
  • Buy and eat “funny” looking fruits and veggies! These are often overlooked in the store or farmers market and end up in the trash. They taste just as good as “regular” produce.
  • Take a risk and learn how to can or pickle! Too many cucumbers? Beets? Apples? Keep them fresh for longer by pickling or canning them.
  • Buy too much produce or it is getting old? Make homemade popsicles or smoothies! They are easy, refreshing, and a great treat.
  • Do some Spring cleaning. Clear out your pantry, fridge and cupboards and take note of ingredients that may have been hiding! Use things you already have in your house first when planning meals and grocery shopping. 
  • Don’t leave food out too long in warm temperatures – this accelerates bacteria growth and causes food to spoil much faster!
  • Check that your fridge and freezer are set to optimal temperatures, and don’t store easily spoiled foods on the door where the temperature fluctuates the most.
  • Cut up stale bread and bake it to make homemade croutons!
  • For a picnic, pack all the food in airtight reusable containers. Avoid storing leftovers in less than ideal packaging to keep them from spoiling quickly.   
  • Bring your food waste to the free public drop-off at Wasatch Resource Recovery or to the Animalia food waste bins for a small fee. 


Do you have any food saving tips to add? Share them on social media and tag #WRRsavethefood for a shoutout. Enjoy summer and keep organic waste out of the landfill! 



Case Study – Misfits Market: a comprehensive approach to food waste

When the Misfits Market founders learned that 30-40% of food in the United States is wasted and ends up in our landfills, they decided there had to be a better solution – Misfits Market was born! Misfits sources produce from farms and grocery stores that is considered “ugly” (meaning it is misshapen, too large, too small, has superficial marks, etc.), as well as products that are short-dated, or have out-of-date packaging. They combine it all in a box that is delivered right to your door! This reduces the amount of waste that gets sent to the landfill, and minimizes trips to the grocery store, saving families time and money. 

Already fulfilling a great mission, Misfits has taken their waste reduction even further by partnering with us at Wasatch Resource Recovery (WRR). In December 2020 Misfits Market started diverting their food waste to WRR with the help of Momentum Recycling. So far they have diverted 273,780 pounds of food waste from the landfill. That is the equivalent of 791,580 ft3 of natural gas, or 4,712 homes heated for a day (13 homes heated for an entire year) – amazing! 

Employees at Misfits have been supportive of the waste diversion program and, as Rich Conen (Senior Operations Manager at Misfits Market Salt Lake City) says,

“I think they appreciate the fact that we are trying to do the right thing corporately”.

In addition to working towards their sustainability goals, Misfits has found that diverting waste to WRR is cheaper than sending it to the landfill, an added bonus!

Distribution centers face many challenges when it comes to implementing a food waste diversion program, but Misfits is an example of just how successful it can be. When asked to give advice to other groups trying to improve their waste practices, Conen said, “it’s actually pretty easy, just explain to your associates why you are doing it and they will get on board with it”. Misfits also uses sustainable packaging and bales all of their recyclables, true waste warriors!


Check out their website to learn more.


Announcing WRR’s Residential Public Food Waste Drop-Off!

Wasatch Resource Recovery is launching a new project as a community resource to reduce food waste! The residential public drop-off is now OPEN, check out all the details below and reach out if you have any questions. 

Residential Public Drop-Off Details

Who: You, your family, friends and neighbors!

What: An alternative destination for household food waste

When: Monday – Friday 7:00am to 7:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 7:00am to 3:30pm 

Where: Just inside the gates of WRR – 1370 W Center St, North Salt Lake, UT 84054

Why: Divert waste from the landfill and help produce renewable biogas!

Public Drop-Off and Wasatch Resource Recovery FAQs

Is there a charge to use the public drop-off?

There is no charge to use the public drop-off location. If you have more than 15 gallons of material to dispose of, please contact us at (801) 661-0095. 

Can the waste be frozen or expired?


How often can I come drop off my food waste?

As often as you have it. Try to combine trips to reduce vehicle emissions!

How do I separate food waste at home?

We suggest putting a small/medium size bucket (with a lid to reduce smells) or a traditional compost container next to your kitchen trash at home. This way, each time you go to throw something in your trash, you’ll think twice! 

What kind of food waste can I put in the public drop-off?

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Grains
  • Pizza crusts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cheese 
  • Meat/fish/poultry – not just bones! 
  • Pet food 
  • Leftovers 
  • Eggs 
  • Butter/oils

What kind of waste is prohibited?

  • Yard waste
  • Wood 
  • Metals
  • Compostable silverware/containers
  • Glass 
  • Toxic/hazardous materials

I am worried about smells/messes – is there a way to minimize this?

At WRR our preference would be to keep as much contamination out of the bins as possible. However, we have state-of-the-art equipment that can pull out contaminants, such as plastic bags. If you would like to place your food waste in a clear plastic or bio-bag, this can eliminate mess and odors. 

Why should I divert waste from the landfill? 

In 2018, the EPA released a report about food waste in the U.S. They found that the ‘residential sector’ (single/multi-family homes) wasted 25 million tons of food! Sixty six percent (66%) of that food waste was sent to the landfill, only 3% was composted and the rest was incinerated or went to wastewater treatment facilities. Food, and other waste we think of as ‘biodegradable’, does not break down in the landfill as quickly as you would expect – landfills lack oxygen which slows down the decomposition process. As waste slowly degrades it releases methane (a harmful greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. 

In the same study done in 2018, the EPA states that around 24% of landfill space is taken up by food waste. Landfills have a large footprint, cost time and resources to maintain, and can cause permanent damage to the surrounding environment. Anything we can do to save space in the landfill is a huge help! 

Wasatch Resource Recovery offers a sustainable destination for food waste. Our site uses the technology of anaerobic digestion to break down food waste and convert it to renewable natural gas and biosolids (nutrient rich fertilizer). Check out our website for a more in-depth look at the process.


What is anaerobic digestion?

A digester, like its name suggests, functions similarly to many animals’ digestive system. It breaks down food waste and turns it into biogas and biosolids, which are eventually refined to natural gas and fertilizer. The natural biological processes use microorganisms to break down biodegradable material in an enclosed tank without oxygen.




What does ‘food waste’ mean, anyway?

When you hear the words ‘food waste’ what do you picture? Veggie scraps? Moldy food? Expired packaged goods? It can be difficult to understand the types of material and the volumes at which we accept them at Wasatch Resource Recovery, so here’s an inside look at some of what comes our way! 

Liquid Waste

Most of the product we receive on a daily basis falls into this category. There are a few ways to categorize this kind of waste so let’s break it down. 

  • Alcohol waste: mash, brewing waste (hops, spent grain), stillage, yeast syrup
  • Dairy waste: whey, sludge, daf, waste milk, yogurt
  • Sugary waste: syrups, frosting/ice cream production waste, juice
  • Other types of liquid waste: meat slurry, used marinade, supplement processing waste

These liquid waste streams come to WRR in large tanker trucks – they use various hoses to hook up to pumps that draw the waste out and into a large holding tank below ground. This waste then goes through a variety of screening processes before it is sent to the digesters.


Fats, Oils and Grease 

Another key material we accept at WRR is fats, oils and grease waste, also known as ‘FOG’. This type of waste comes from grease traps or other fat collecting tanks. Just like our stomachs, the digesters love fatty foods, but in moderation. We keep the liquid waste and the FOG waste separate and meter the FOG in slowly, so as not to add too much grease and make the digesters sick. The FOG tank also has to be kept at a higher temperature, so all that fatty material doesn’t solidify. 


Packaged Waste

Packaged food and drink is another staple of our digesters’ diet. This type of product is not fed directly into the digesters, but has to go through a variety of de-packaging machines and filtering processes to remove contamination. Anything packaged that comes to WRR goes through our receiving building – we have four docks where trucks deliver product in totes, pallets, gaylords, barrels or other receptacles (creativity is a must in this industry!). This waste stream includes things like, beverages in aluminum cans, glass or plastic bottles, cartons of milk or other dairy products, yogurt containers, bagged potato chips, canned pet food, etc. All of this material is sent to us because it fails to meet a standard set by the production company, also known as ‘off-spec’ product. 

Watch this video to see our glass de-packaging machine in action!



The final source of waste we receive is ‘source separated organic waste’ or ‘SSOW’, a fancy term for the food waste most of us think of! This waste includes fruit and vegetable scraps, expired products, uneaten food scraped from plates, raw ingredients, etc. Most of this material comes from food distributors, restaurants, food courts, cafeterias, grocery stores, residential homes, and other small to medium sized businesses. These locations work to separate out the food waste at the source, usually utilizing specific bins, rolloffs, or compactors dedicated to mixed food waste. 


Check out how much of each waste type we receive each day (on average)

Waste type

Average tons per day 

Liquid waste
259 tns
FOG waste
71 tns
Packaged waste
21 tns
17 tns
368 tns


This means that over 368 tons of organic waste is diverted from the landfill each day! All of this waste ends up in one of our two anaerobic digesters. Inside, the ‘slurry’ (mix of all waste streams after contaminants have been removed and water has been added to help it flow through our system) spends 3-4 weeks as small microbes break down the organic matter. Without oxygen, this is what creates biogas! This gas is purified into biomethane which is then sent to the grid and off to homes and businesses as renewable natural gas. Once the material passes through the digesters, it goes through ‘dewatering’, which pulls out almost all liquid, leaving a nutrient-rich, carbon-based fertilizer that can be used to grow crops (we call these biosolids).

Sell by, Use by, Best by – Can I Eat This?

Have you ever cleaned out your pantry or fridge and found an old bottle of ketchup or a box of crackers that you forgot about? You check the label and it says “Best By February 2016”, oops!

You open them up and they smell fine, look fine, even taste fine! But that pesky date…

In the United States there are no federal regulations that control or mandate food product dating – except for infant formula. As a general rule, any date displayed on a food product references the quality of the product not the safety. What does this mean? Let’s take a closer look at some of the specifics. 

Date Phrase 

What it means

Is it a safety date? 

Best if Used By/Before
Indicates the date a product will be of the highest quality
Sell By
Indicates to store management how long to display the product for maximum freshness 
Use By
The end date that a product will be at its highest quality 
Pack Date
A code on many canned or packaged items that may not appear in the regular DD/MM/YYYY format – this is not related to expiration or freshness dates 

* except infant formula

So what are the takeaways? Basically, use your senses! Food labels and dates can be confusing and provide little detail about safety. Look at it, smell it, and taste it! If there is mold growing, a strange texture, an odd scent or flavor, it has likely expired. If not, trust your gut and use it. That being said, there are a few tips and tricks to saving money and reducing your food waste at home.

  • Store food properly! 
    • Keep foods more vulnerable to bacteria or food-borne illnesses (high risk foods) on the bottom shelf of your fridge (it’s the coldest) – raw meats, poultry, dairy, fish, etc. 
    • Store less high risk foods on upper shelves – beverages, leftovers, yogurt, etc.
    • The doors of a fridge are the warmest, avoid placing high risk foods there
    • Store canned goods in a cool/dry location
    • Place leftover meals or ingredients in sealed containers 
    • Visit to learn about the best storage for all of your food! 
  • Always make a shopping list before heading to the store
  • Plan meals based on ingredients you already have in your pantry
  • Freeze and cook foods to extend shelf-life
  • Store herbs and cut vegetables (like celery and carrots) in containers with a few inches of water 
  • Use ice cube trays to freeze ingredients for future use
    • Mix herbs with olive oil 
    • Blend fruit to use in smoothies 
    • Tomato paste 
    • Make coffee ice cubes for iced coffee 
    • Baby food 
  • Buy “ugly” produce – misshapen or slightly bruised fruits and vegetables are wasted at a much higher rate 

Trust your senses, know that food product dates are guidelines and not hard and fast rules. Next time you are at the grocery store or cleaning out your pantry, get creative and think twice! 



“Do you incinerate the food waste?” “No!”

This is one of the most common questions we receive at Wasatch Resource Recovery and one that we wanted to dive into a bit more!

Incineration was one of the most common ways to keep solid waste out of landfills in the United States and much of the world 20 to 30 years ago. It is still used both here and abroad but the dial has been moving towards more renewable options for decades. 

Wasatch Resource Recovery’s goal is to reduce waste headed to the landfill. Because anaerobic digesters are similar to our stomachs, we don’t accept materials that are hard to break down (plastics, metals, branches, single use disposables, etc.) – WRR supports recycling, composting and reusables. Incinerators generally accept all waste in one stream, which sounds ideal, but actually discourages people from recycling, composting or rethinking their purchases. 

It is important to understand the long term benefits of rethinking our waste streams and there are key differences (and a few similarities) between anaerobic digestion and incineration.

Anaerobic Digestion


Is this a closed loop system?
Is the end product renewable?
Is waste to the landfill reduced?
What is released into the atmosphere?
Greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane
What kind of energy is generated?
Biomethane – a renewable natural gas
Electricity for heating
What byproducts are generated?
  • Biosolids – nutrient-rich, carbon-based fertilizer used to grow crops
  • Baled recyclables from packaged organic waste
  • Ash that contains toxic pollutants
  • Wastewater

The best way to keep waste out of the landfill is to reduce the waste at the source, followed by feeding people who are hungry, animals who are hungry and then finally, sending waste to an anaerobic digester! We are thrilled to be at the forefront of renewable energy projects here in Utah and across the country. 


For more information check out our website. If your business is interested in diverting organic waste to WRR please email us at or give us a call at 801-266-9161.




Case Study – Harmons Grocery’s Vision for Sustainability Drives Food Waste Diversion Efforts

There are myriad things to consider when assessing a grocery store chain’s environmental impact. A comprehensive sustainability plan takes into consideration everything from environmentally friendly packaging, to energy conservation, to alternative fuel delivery vehicles. However, according to Kate Whitbeck, Harmons Grocery sustainability director, the locally owned and operated grocery chain chose waste reduction and diversion as a top priority early in their sustainability planning because it is an action that has the potential to yield measurable and impactful results.

“Turning our food waste into a renewable fuel helps us honor our commitment to be good stewards of the environment and community, while helping us reduce our carbon footprint.” – Kate Whitbeck; Sustainability Director

Currently, Wasatch Resource Recovery receives roughly 200 tons of food waste from 15 Harmons Grocery Stores every month. The food waste consists largely of fruit and vegetable scraps, meat, dairy and oil, as well as, baked, prepared, and packaged foods. This landfill diversion effort results in the production of enough renewable natural gas to heat 284 homes for a month.

This type of impact requires an action plan that is well aligned with the company’s sustainability vision. Fortunately, Harmons has a strong foundation on which to build because, as Chairman Bob Harmon puts it, “At Harmons, our commitment to a sustainable future is part of being a good neighbor. Caring for the environment ensures our world will remain a safe and healthy place for our associates, our community, and future generations.” To follow through on this commitment, and in an effort to maximize their environmental impact, Harmons has developed a training program for associates with the goal of: 1. Educating their employees on the procedures necessary to separate their stores’ food waste from the trash stream; and 2. Informing staff members about how these efforts benefit the larger community. Harmons works hard to create shared values among their staff which they believe, in turn, helps to ensure that employees will take ownership over the company’s sustainability efforts.

Harmons is a critical partner for Wasatch Resource Recovery in the organization’s quest to produce pipeline grade renewable natural gas – a key pillar in the drive to produce fuel from renewable sources. As Kate says, “Turning food waste into a renewable fuel helps us honor our commitment to be good stewards of the environment and community, while helping us reduce our carbon footprint.” We couldn’t agree more!