Could mealtime scraps be a source of energy and jobs? Dane County will launch a feasibility study in early 2010 to explore the renewable energy potential of building a food waste digester plant. “Waste food has enormous potential to be converted into green energy, and to help produce some good paying jobs in our community, and to keep it out of our landfill, so our landfill will last longer,” said County Executive Kathleen Falk.

And there’s a lot of food waste going into the landfill. “We figure it’s about 30,000 tons a year, which is about one-fifteenth of the waste that goes into the landfill,” said Falk. “It is not insignificant.”

Falk says one of the main questions to be answered is how to separate food from the rest of the waste stream. “That’s a big a part of the study, to figure out how we actually get it from our kitchen tables, to produce electricity,” Falk said. Dane County, which also has plans to build a manure digester, will be breaking new ground the food to energy study: there are no similar plants anywhere in the U.S., although Falk says Toronto is using the process successfully.

Bob Hague (:60) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60 MP3)

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