So, what is it like working with a food recycler? Today, we’d like to guide you on the road your food waste takes to be sustainably recycled into products like electricity and agricultural fertilizer. Check out our step-by-step process and its beginning, middle, and end, which continues the cycle. For our business partners with food waste, such as grocers, commercial restaurants, and food producers, we really do bring Food Full Circle!
Food Waste Recycling: The Agri-Cycle Cycle
While we’ve talked about how the Anaerobic Digestion (AD) cycle works at our Stonyvale Farms facility, that cycle is only part of the larger cycle that includes you, our business partner. Below, we’re highlighting what to expect when working with us as part of your food waste management system and how that food waste makes it to us and is then recycled. There are many parts of this system, including your own workers, our fleet of trucks, our AD facilities, and our cows!
Part One: From Your Food Waste Bin to Us
We work with our business partners to determine your needs, types of food waste, and people power to ensure you have the right food waste solution.
- Workers Separate Food Waste: It all starts with you! Your workers put food waste into your container. This varies by need – it could be small mobile toter bins, larger pallet bins (such as gaylords), or pumped directly into a tanker truck for things like liquid waste and grease.
- Agri-Cycle Trucks Collects It: We have a wide fleet of trucks for every client need, from compacting collection trucks to roll-off and long trailer trucks, even liquid waste with tanker trucks. We also accept packaged foodstuffs, which we bring to a central location for use with our depackager.
Part Two: Digester Slurry to Power Plant
Here’s where the magic happens – but frankly, also where things get gross. Our AD facilities and processing partners need to turn this food waste into food.
- Food Waste is Processed: Food is turned into a disgusting-looking mixture called “slurry.” The slurry is a specific concoction of food waste and cow manure to make our bacteria happy and active. The grossest milkshake known to man is perfect for them!
- Slurry Becomes Bio-Gas: Slurry is pumped into digestors, where it is heated up to a yummy 104° F for approximately 20 days. During that period, “Bio-Gas” is created and used to generate electricity using engines that are connected directly to the grid.
Part Three: When the Cows Come Home
Did you know we got our start as a 5th-generation dairy farm? And those cows are still involved! Besides their aforementioned contributions in providing manure, they are also involved in the following ways:
- Byproducts are Used: After all of the gasses and energy have been extracted, we are left with a nutrient-rich liquid called “Digestate.” At our site and the farm-based ADs we work with, the digestate is used to grow crops and offset the use of synthetic fertilizers. Other AD byproducts are used in animal bedding – nothing goes wasted.
- The Poop Loop: What happens to those crops? We feed them to our cows! And like all of us, after the cows eat, they poop. We collect that poop and combine it with the food waste we have collected in an infinite loop. Food full cycle, get it?
If this blog got you interested in learning more about sustainable solutions to your commercial food waste, we can help. At Agri-Cycle, we’re proud to help businesses (and cities) throughout the northeast – from Maine to Maryland – find better ways of dealing with and reducing their food waste. Contact us to take your food full cycle by getting a quote or calling us at 1-800-850-9560.