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EPA to Award $39,000 to Madison for Food Waste Management and Infrastructure Project

04/09/2019
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 19-OPA16

EPA to Award $39,000 to Madison for Food Waste Management and Infrastructure Project

MADISON (April 9, 2019) -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the City of Madison, Wis., has been selected to receive funding to evaluate an anaerobic digester program to divert wasted food from landfills. Madison’s project is one of three selected projects nationwide which further the federal government’s Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative.

“Last fall, EPA, USDA, and FDA came together to create the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative to elevate and streamline our efforts across the federal government,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Funding these innovative projects not only demonstrates EPA’s commitment to this initiative, but also supports waste management infrastructure that can transform food waste into fuel or fertilizer.”

Anaerobic digestion is a process used in waste management to break down organic materials such as food waste, scraps, manure and sewage sludge that could otherwise contribute to methane emissions in landfills.

Madison will use EPA funding to assess the feasibility of developing a regional organic waste collection program for the city and surrounding communities in Dane County.  If deemed viable, this collection program and anaerobic digestion facility could create biogas and compost from organic materials that are discarded by households and restaurants. 

“Anaerobic digesters can give food waste a second useful life as renewable energy, fertilizers and soil additives,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Keeping food waste from landfills saves taxpayers' money and reduces environmental impact.”

“The City of Madison is thrilled to be selected to receive this grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling in Madison began in 1968 with a newspaper collection program. With the grant awarded today, we will be able to add a new chapter to our city’s long history of sustainable practices and continue working to solve the problem of food waste,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

EPA anticipates the next round of funding for local anaerobic digestion infrastructure will take place later in 2019. 

In the United States, around 95 percent of discarded food ends up in landfills and combustion facilities. Anaerobic digestion is a strategy used to help address this problem and is included in EPA’s food recovery hierarchy, a tool developed by EPA that is used by those outside the federal government looking to implement effective food waste reduction strategies that work best for their unique businesses and communities.  

For more information on anaerobic digestion, visit https://www.epa.gov/anaerobic-digestion.

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