NYC launching pilot program to generate heat with food scraps

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection will collect food waste and use it as a natural energy source

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Photograph: Donald Yip

Forget composting—there's an even better way to reuse New Yorkers' uneaten bagels, pizza and cronuts (just kidding—cronuts obviously don't go uneaten). The city is launching a pilot program that will use food waste to generate heat for more than 5,000 homes. Here's how it works: The NYC Department of Environmental Protection will start collecting scraps from public-school cafeterias (for now) and truck them over to a wastewater treatment plant in Brooklyn. The facility will then process the organic trash into natural gas energy.

This initiative will eventually be able to convert 500 tons of food waste per day. Sounds like a lot—but that only represents 15 percent of the city's thrown-out edibles (the rest of the scraps will be composted). If all goes well, the city hopes to expand the program to other local plants. Creating natural gas from this organic trash will also reduce climate-warming emissions to the atmosphere—potentially 90,000 metric tons of emissions a year. Sounds pretty cool to us.

(h/t Co.EXIST)

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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