EPA Announces the Selection of 12 Organizations to Receive $3 Million in Funding to Support Anaerobic Digestion in Communities

News Releases from Region 02

Central New York Technology Development Organization set to receive funding

10/01/2020

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New York – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Agency selected 12 recipients to receive approximately $3 million in funding to help reduce food loss and waste and to divert food waste from landfills by expanding anaerobic digester capacity in the United States. EPA Region 2 has selected the Central New York Technology Development Organization (TDO) to receive $235,440 in funding once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

“Finding solutions to better curb food waste continues to be a top priority for the Trump administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This year’s round of innovative community projects is focusing on ways to reduce food waste at the local and state levels and divert it from landfills.”

“Central New York TDO will use this money to upgrade its facility by purchasing a baler and increasing the capacity of its anaerobic digester – meaning less waste going to dumpsters,” said Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Through this project, EPA and Central New York Technology Development Organization are offering a learning opportunity for central NY businesses and manufacturers on how to boost operational excellence and reduce pollution.”

“TDO is off-the-charts excited to be able to bring this project to Cayuga County,” said TDO Center Director Jim D’Agostino. “Our gratitude goes out to the EPA for investing and supporting the growth of anaerobic digesters, to our top-notch partner Generate Capital who will be making considerable investment to the facility, and finally to the Honorable Keith Batman for his support on our application.  We are chomping at the bit to get started.”

This anaerobic digestion funding opportunity is a part of EPA’s efforts and contributions to the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, a partnership among EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration, to reduce food loss and waste through individual and combined federal action. Anaerobic digestion is a process where microorganisms break down organic materials, such as food scraps, manure and sewage sludge, all in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic digestion produces biogas, which can be captured and used for energy production, and “digestate,” a nutrient-rich product, such as a fertilizer.

Anaerobic digestion is a strategy included in EPA’s food recovery hierarchy that is preferable to landfilling/incineration because it reclaims valuable resources. Keeping food waste from landfills, such as transforming it into fuel or fertilizer, can save money and reduce environmental impacts.

TDO intends to use the funds to upgrade an existing facility by purchasing a baler to increase the volume and diversity of the processed feedstock, including packaged food waste and food waste with more contaminants. This investment will improve the capacity of the anaerobic digester and enable it to take in feedstocks that have high percentages of packaging. The facility can then ship out bales of aggregated packaging rather than filling dumpsters with loose packaging, ultimately decreasing the costs associated with disposing of packaging and increasing processing speed.

Following New York legislation, in January 2022, large food generators – supermarkets, colleges, hotels and sporting venues – will be required to donate leftover edible food. The remaining scraps must be prepared as animal feed or recycled if a recycling facility exists within 25 miles of waste generation. At that time, large generators of food waste may no longer landfill these materials. When the mandate takes effect, more feedstock – packaged and scraps – will be available for AD operations. This grant investment will better position TDO for this increased volume, which will benefit New York public health and the environment.

For more information on anaerobic digestion, visit https://epa.gov/anaerobic-digestion

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2

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