Move over, landfills — food scraps give Massachusetts biogas

The state of Massachusetts is cracking down on food waste in a big way. Come Oct 1, any institution producing more than a ton of leftovers a week — think grocery stores, hotels, universities, nursing homes, and the like — won’t be able to send their discarded food to the landfill anymore. Their only options: donate any usable food, ship the remaining scraps to a composting facility or as farm animal feed, or turn the food waste into clean energy at an anaerobic digestion facility, where microbes in enclosed chambers break it down. The resulting biogas can then be used to create heat and electricity, or converted to compressed natural gas to fuel buses and trucks.

Some 1,700 business are set to be affected by the ban — part of the state’s ultimate plan to reduce its waste stream 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. NPR reports:

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