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Marin Recycling Center Turns Food Scraps Into Clean-Burning Energy

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A prep cook cuts limes next to a compost bin. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

JEFFREY%20SCHAUB Jeffrey Schaub
Jeffrey Schaub is a Bay Area broadcast news veteran. From 1990 to 201...
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SAN RAFAEL (KCBS)— In Marin County they are doing something very different with their food besides preparing and eating it. Food scraps are being turned into clean burning energy.

At Marin Recycling Center in San Rafael, a loader scoops up literally tons of food scraps from a heaping pile in their collection center.

The scraps from 15 restaurants and grocery stores are brought to the center each week— at times, up to 20 tons a load. Things like grapefruit rinds, apple cores, and old lettuce to banana peels are common.

The material starts off by going into the hopper, through a series of belts and is crushed and ground.

The veggie “goo” of sorts is then sent over to the wastewater treatment plant where methane is extracted and used to help power the facility.

One of the workers said the recycling plant was running on about 17 hours of bio-gas. Their hopes are to scale the program and run it completely on bio-gas.

It’s the first of its kind, food-to-energy system in the Bay Area.

Marin Recycling Center vice President Patty Garbarino said it’s the future now.

“People should care because it is something that is the gift to the next generation. To be able to reverse the effects of global warming for all of us,” she said.

Garbarino said she sees a world powered by fruits and veggies, so don’t throw that uneaten food into the garbage when it can be turned into energy.

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