Anaerobic digestion is a process where microorganisms break down organic materials, such as food scraps, manure, and sewage sludge. This is done in the absence of oxygen. Recycling wasted food through anaerobic digestion produces bio-gas and a soil amendment, two valuable products.
Wasted food can be processed at facilities specifically designed to digest the organic portion of municipal solid waste. It can also be co-digested at wastewater treatment plants and manure digesters.
Liquid fats and solid meat products are materials that should not be sent to landfills or disposed of in the sanitary sewer system. Fats, oils, and grease can clog pipes and pumps both in the public sewer lines as well as in wastewater treatment facilities. This prevents combined sewer overflows, which protects water quality and lowers bills. Fats, oil and grease should be sent to the rendering industry to be made into another product, converted to bio-fuels, or sent to an anaerobic digester.
· Rendering - Liquid fats and solid meat products can be used as raw materials in the rendering industry, which converts them into animal food, cosmetics, soap, and other products. Many companies will provide storage barrels and free pick-up service.
· Bio-diesel - Fats, oils and grease are collected and converted by local manufacturers into environmentally friendly bio-diesel fuel. Bio-diesel is an alternative fuel produced from renewable resources such as virgin oils (soybean, canola, palm), waste cooking oil, or other bio-waste feed-stock. Bio-diesel significantly reduces greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide in air emissions, and asthma-causing soot. Along with creating less pollution, bio-diesel is simple to use, biodegradable and nontoxic.
· Anaerobic Digestion - Fats, oil and grease can be added to anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants to generate renewable energy in the form of bio-gas. Source credit EPA website.