Republic Services facilities help turn food waste into energy

Republic Services has opened the first organics pre-treatment facility in the Sacramento area, which will help local communities divert food waste from landfills and turn it into renewable energy. A new California state law, SB 1383, aimed at addressing climate change will come into effect on January 1, 2022 and will require the majority of California homes and businesses to recycle food and garden waste at facilities such as this one.

The diversion of food and garden waste into recycling programs has a double benefit: this organic material can be recycled by converting it into renewable energy or a product like compost, and the diversion reduces emissions. To meet the requirements of the new state law, CalRecycle believes the state will need to double its current organics management infrastructure.

Republic’s new facility accepts food waste collected from businesses in Sacramento County. The operation removes contamination such as plastic bags and produces clean organic material which is delivered to an anaerobic digestion facility. This facility converts organic matter into renewable energy which is used to power the facility and ultimately could be sold to the utility grid.

The new Sacramento facility is capable of handling 40,000 pounds of food waste per hour. This is Republic’s third organic material pretreatment operation, all located in California. The company also owns and operates six composting facilities in the state. In 2020, the company processed more than 2.15 billion pounds of food and garden waste.