Here in San Luis Obispo County, something special is happening to our organic waste.
After a ten year process, we have a new anaerobic digester in town. It’s converting your food scraps and yard waste into biogas and high grade compost.
If you can’t remember your early biology classes – anaerobic means without oxygen.
But the lack of oxygen isn’t what makes this digester unique. It’s the quality and efficiency. The plant processes the organic waste at 131° F, which is much higher than other facilities all over the state. The temperature allows for sanitizing the compost, ensuring the finish product is the best for use by local farmers. The high heat also allows for the production of a greater volume of carbon-neutral biogas.
We were able to take a tour and get the background scoop.
We heard stories of Bill Worrell, Head of the Integrated Waste Management Authority. He toured a dozen European digestion facilities in search for a long term solution for organics. Worrell landed on Hitachi Zosen Inova in Zurich, Switzerland to engineer and construct the plant, making it the only facility in California to not be associated with a government agency.
He says anaerobic plants “keep everything indoors, there is no runoff and it recovers energy. It is just the best way to compost.”
The plant is carbon negative because it reduces our carbon footprint. If we were to dispose of our green waste in the landfill, the breakdown would release methane into the atmosphere. Instead, by placing food scraps and other organics in our green waste bin, we contribute to meaningful products.
This is a step towards a more carbon-neutral economy. Green On!