A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

It is well known that Americans don’t use/eat all the food they produce and thus some goes to waste. Based on that fact, an item in a recent Waste Age eNewsletter caught my eye. It talks about the efforts one of our national grocery stores is making to help insure some of this unneeded food/produce is put to good use.

The articles started: “The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, announced the successful start up of its new anaerobic digester at K.B. Specialty Foods, a manufacturing plant owned and operated by the company in Greensburg, Indiana.”

The article then mentioned this is the second Kroger site having an anaerobic digester.

K.B. Specialty Foods employs 270 associates. It produces deli salads, cake icing, along with refrigerated side dishes. Being a zero-waste facility since 2014, every year it has been diverting from landfills more than 90 percent of the waste it produces. .

As a spokesperson for the company stated, “Kroger recently announced its Zero Hunger/Zero Waste initiative, an exciting plan to end hunger in the communities we call home and eliminate waste in our company by 2025.”

Already 33 of its 36 plants are achieving the zero-waste manufacturing goals they established several years ago.

Additionally in good news, “The new $9.5 million anaerobic digester, which replaced a conventional wastewater treatment system, features a dome that captures biogas from food byproducts at the plant and converts it into energy through anaerobic digestion while also improving air quality.”

This energy will be used to make almost 30 percent of the plant’s needed electricity.

Switching to another article on the same subject in the same publication, San Luis Obispo County facility will convert source-separated organic waste into biogas and high-grade compost.”

The county, located in central California between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is where California’s newest anaerobic digestion facility will soon be installed.

In California, anaerobic digestion as an alternative to landfills waste is the desired for the disposal of collected source-separated organic (SSO). It should be noted food waste alone represents over 15 percent of total landfill disposal within the state. The state already has 17 organic waste anaerobic digestion plants in operation, and another 10 in the approval or building process.

Included in the 10 is the unit in San Luis Obispo, with plans to begin full production in mid-2018.

“California recognizes that expanding anaerobic digestion facilities throughout the state will help reduce methane emissions from its landfills and generate biogas that can be used to create electricity or renewable transportation fuels.”

They passed laws promoting this. For example, in 2014, a law was passed requiring, “businesses that generate a specified amount of organic waste per week to arrange for recycling services for that waste by April 2016 and required each jurisdiction to implement an organic waste recycling program to divert the waste collected away from landfills.”

In 2016, another bill required, “a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020, and a 75 percent reduction by 2025.”

The reason we mentioned some of California’s efforts is we feel – as did the article – they make a “bold statement and champion the importance of environmental consciousness – not just to the residents of the county or state, but to the entire nation.”

And that’s all of us.

Till next week, do have a great one...

--Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432 or e-mail omaier@txstate.edu.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666