En route to the biodigester
Background: Saint Mary's College was the pilot project for gathering food waste from institutions. We were the first institution to adopt the program, and have partnered up with Allied Waste, based in Concord, the same company that transports the contents of our trash compactors as well. At this stage, we are only processing "pre-service" food waste, meaning that the cafeteria and other dining services college our kitchen waster and contribute it to a program that uses our excess food to create energy.
Allied Waste picks up the pre-consumers waste food products once a week. The food is then taken to a grinding facility before eventually making its way to East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). The grinder reduces the waste so that it can be diluted and run through the pipes and hoses at EBMUD. The ground food waste is then mixed with water and other organic waster materials and heated to the optimal environment for anaerobic microorganisms to break down the food waste, creating methane and carbon dioxide.
Through this project, we learned that St. Mary's is doing a great job in contributing to an alternative form of energy.