Recycling commercial food waste

Last Updated: 6/7/2017

Our Solid Waste Utility operates a specially designed commercial organic waste collection truck that stops three times a week at Nugget Market, each time collecting at least two cubic yards of food waste. For the next few years, the Solid Waste Utility will keep Nugget’s food waste out of landfills by transporting it to an anaerobic digester in Sacramento, where it will be converted to natural gas and also used to create compost.

The anaerobic digester at Pleasant Grove will be built in a few years. Currently, we are collecting commercial organic waste, mainly from grocery stores and restaurants, in a collection vehicle built specifically to collect this kind of waste and create fuel elsewhere.

One of our customers, Nugget Market, is an enthusiastic partner. Jeremy Patin, the chain’s then sustainability coordinator, said food waste accounts for about 50 percent of Nugget’s waste stream. Finding ways to keep food waste out of landfills is an important priority for this locally controlled grocer.

“We’re really happy with the organic food waste service we get from Environmental Utilities Solid Waste division,” he told us. “It’s one of the best city-run programs around. If we can’t donate unused food, we divert it to keep it out of landfills.” Nugget Market keeps its food waste out of landfills by turning it into compost, liquid fertilizer and biofuel.

We also power-wash the store’s collection bin to keep it from degrading. “We really appreciate the way EU’s Solid Waste Utility is helping us run a clean, environmentally responsible business,” Jeremy said. “They’re responsive to our needs, and they’re great at communicating when a schedule changes.”