With the MIRA trash facility in Hartford set to shut down in 2022, the state of Connecticut is facing a waste crisis.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, along with dozens of municipalities from across the state, met today to discuss the future of food scrap collection in Connecticut, which is playing a big role in the ongoing waste disposal battle and climate change.
"Some of the traditional things that we've relied on for places to take our trash are becoming more costly to manage or just running out of capacity," explained Katie Dykes, commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Plans to close MIRA in 2022 will force big changes in our local waste disposal.
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"That means that more towns are having to pay more to send trash to the disposal,” said Dykes. “Or even having to rely on sending trash out of state to landfills to get rid of our trash."
But, there is good news.
Dykes explained, "we have a lot of solutions that are good for the environment and more economical that we can move towards to address this crisis."
In response, Commissioner Dykes created the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management. A group effort between DEEP and more than 80 towns to figure out the best next steps.
"It really brought in a lot of municipalities into the conversation that hadn't been engaged before," says David Aldridge, Executive Director of the Southeastern CT Regional Resources Recovery Authority.
And David Aldridge, the executive director of the Southeastern CT Regional Resources Recovery Authority, is full steam ahead.
Aldridge said, "our authority is very actively working on developing some infrastructure to handle food waste.”
Something Quantum Biopower in Southington has paved the way for.
"We were able to unlock the value in that food waste by creating biogas and creating things of value like compost from food waste that would typically go to a landfill or incineration," explained Brian Paganini, the Vice President of Quantum Biopower.
First of its kind in the state, since 2016, Quantum Biopower has been processing about 100 tons of food waste per day through a very large anaerobic digestor.
"Which essentially is a very large steel tank that has millions of microscopic bacteria that are consuming that food waste and expelling methane, no different than a cows stomach,” said Paganini. “And all that methane that we're making is used as a fuel source to run a generator that makes electricity and heat."
Quantum Biopower can process 40 thousand tons of food waste a year --Connecticut generates about 500 thousand tons
To learn more about how you can help turn your food waste into something much more valuable visit https://www.blueearthcompost.com/