Authority Celebrates Two Years of Food2Energy Program

The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) began operating its $3.4 million food waste recovery facility, Food2Energy, in May of 2019.

May 18, 2021

The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) began operating its $3.4 million food waste recovery facility, Food2Energy, in May of 2019. Since opening, Food2Energy has allowed for the recovery of over 11.5 million pounds of food waste for energy production.

The Authority has promoted waste reduction, maximized recycling, and provided safe, economical disposal for non-recyclable waste for the Oneida-Herkimer region since its formation in 1988. Food2Energy allows for the recovery of food waste - which makes up 22% of all municipal solid waste sent to landfills - furthering our goal to conserve landfill space, energy and natural resources in our region.

Businesses, organizations, schools and residents may deliver food waste to the Authority’s Food2Energy Facility on Leland Avenue in Utica for a reduced disposal fee. Because the Authority has invested in a ‘de-packager,’ food waste can be delivered in boxes, bags and original containers, with no requirement to remove packaging; making food waste diversion a convenient alternative to landfill disposal. After food waste is de-packaged, gray water is added to the mix and the waste is emulsified into a slurry. This slurry is then delivered to the Oneida County Water Pollution Control Plant’s (WPCP) anaerobic digesters to create electricity utilized by the Plant, offsetting their energy demand.

“The amount of food waste – 11.5 million pounds – that we have been able to recover through Food2Energy since our opening is a testament to the organizations, schools and residents in our region that consistently prioritize recycling and waste reduction,” says Samantha Brown, Authority Recycling Coordinator. “We are excited to continue to work with local organizations to prevent even more food waste from being ‘wasted’ in the future,” she continued.

In April 2019, New York State passed legislation requiring large generators of food waste (producing at least 2 tons per week) to divert the material from regional landfills through waste reduction, donation, or delivery to a certified anaerobic digestion or composting facility (if such facilities are within 25 miles of the generator). The new mandate will take effect January 1, 2022.

“Food2Energy is viable with or without legislation, and is a project that the Authority has had in the works for several years. When the mandate is implemented, we have the infrastructure ready and are able to provide generators who fall under the NYS mandate with a cost effective and efficient option,” said Brown.

In addition to its environmental benefits, Food2Energy provides an economic incentive for large generators to participate in food waste recovery. The tipping fee for garbage in Oneida and Herkimer Counties is currently $62/ton. The tipping fee for source separated organics (food waste) is $40/ton.

If you are interested in learning more about Food2Energy, please visit our website at www.ohswa.org or call our office at (315) 733-1224.