SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A new facility in the city of North Salt Lake will convert food waste into natural gas and fertilizer, creating what Utah's governor said is a "win-win" for cutting waste and methane emissions at landfills while powering communities.
Construction began last week on the $43 million facility called an anaerobic digester, which will liquefy food scraps and use water, heat and bacteria to turn them into methane gas and fertilizer.
The facility called Wasatch Resource Recovery will use 360 tons of solid waste daily that would otherwise rot in landfills, emitting methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Instead, the facility will capture that gas and use as an energy source.
Officials estimate that it will cut emissions in an amount equivalent to 75,000 fewer cars driving each year.
"It is win-win-win all the way around," Gov. Gary Herbert said at the groundbreaking Thursday.
Morgan Bowerman, sustainability manager for Wasatch Resource Recovery, told Deseret News that the facility can handle material that most composters cannot, such as bones, dairy, oil or sugar.
"We can take all of that," Bowerman said.
Bowerman said several grocery store chains, restaurants and other companies have agreed to send their food waste to the North Salt Lake facility.
BP Energy Corporation has agreed to purchase natural gas created by the facility, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Wasatch Resource Recovery, a partnership between bioenergy company ALPRO Energy and Water and the South Davis Sewer District, is expected to be running in fall 2018.