Did you know…
What is Anaerobic Digestion?
Food waste is a wasted potential – but anaerobic digestion is here to help.
In the United States 24% of landfilled waste is food waste. Wasted food that is sent to landfill produces methane as it decomposes. Landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions, accounting for around 14% of total methane emissions. (1)
But there is a better alternative for food waste. Anaerobic digestion is a process that can take food waste and other organic matter and break it down in the absence of oxygen into reusable outputs – like biogas. Anaerobic digestion works by adding the organic feedstock into a reactor where complex microbial communities are able to break down and digest the waste and produce resulting outputs of biogas and digestate – solid and liquid outputs from the process.
The resulting two outputs – biogas and digestate – have valuable uses. Biogas can be used like natural gas in a variety of applications, including producing heat and generating electricity. Digestate, the residual solid and liquid matter leftover from the anaerobic digestion process, can be used in many agricultural uses – like animal bedding and fertilizer. (2)
The figure below illustrates the process of anaerobic digestion. To learn more, visit https://www.epa.gov/agstar/how-does-anaerobic-digestion-work.