Turning Boston’s Food Waste into Clean, Green Energy

About one-third of all food produced globally – more than 1.8 billion tons – is lost or wasted along the food value chain. Just in the United States, $218 billion a year is spent growing, processing, transporting and disposing of food that is never eaten.

Lost opportunities reclaimed
More than just the money spent producing wasted resources, there’s the lost opportunities to feed the hungry, conserve water and reduce greenhouse gasses. While there’s much to be done to prevent food waste, we’re scaling-up capabilities to repurpose food waste into clean, renewable energy.

Innovation to the CORe® process
Waste Management’s patented CORe® process is an innovative process that recycles pre- and post-consumer food wastes into EBS®, an organic slurry product used to generate renewable green energy. The CORe® system converts food waste into a high-quality organic feedstock used for co-digestion in municipal anaerobic digesters.

Waste Management of New England (WMNE) is working with the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District (GLSD) to operate an advanced recycling facility to convert food waste into a renewable energy source. Located in an industrial area of Charlestown, this operation processes Source Separated food waste into EBS®, using our proprietary CORe® process.

All processing of organic waste takes place within a fully enclosed facility designed to mitigate odors, noise and other environmental impacts. The EBS® is then delivered to GLSD’s waste water treatment plant, where it is added to the plant’s anaerobic digestion system to increase the production of biogas.

Biogas is used to heat facility operations and soon will be converted to electricity. The Boston organics recycling facility marks a significant step forward toward the Massachusetts’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) long-term sustainability goals of recycling organic waste and increasing the use of renewable energy.

This partnership project with the GLSD, has the potential to convert over 100,000 tons per year of organic food waste into renewable fuel and energy – offsetting 104% of the GLSD plant-wide power consumption and over 347,000 gallons per year of fossil fuel oil consumption


What is CORe®?
The CORe® process is a patented and proprietary process which allows Waste Management to take advantage of the energy in organic material to produce biogas that can be converted into electricity, heat and fuel.

What type of organics does CORe® accept?
Commercial, industrial, institutional and residential sources, including restaurants, food processing plants, grocery stores, schools and universities.

How does the CORe® process work?
The organics are screened to remove incidental contamination – for example plastic, utensils, packaging, etc. After screening, the organic waste is transformed into an EBS® organic slurry, a consistently high BTU-content product ideal for renewable energy production.

What is EBS® organic slurry?
EBS® organic slurry is a quality-controlled engineered product blend of organic materials, tested for co-digestion compatibility with local wastewater treatment plants. Our proprietary CORe® process removes contamination and produces a consistent and characterized blend of high-energy content organic material suited for biological makeup for maximum benefit in an anaerobic digester. Testing of each load offers quality control for each load delivered to the digester.

What is anaerobic digestion?
Anaerobic digestion is a biological process by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen, producing carbon dioxide and methane gas. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to reduce waste solids and produce renewable fuel that can be captured and used, offsetting the use of fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Why is CORe® important?
The demand for this new technology has increased as more Americans search for ways to use food waste for its highest purpose. According to a 2012 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), over 40 percent of food grown in the U.S. is never consumed. Fourteen percent of materials in our trash is food. Much of the food waste happens on the production and transportation end, but food waste also shows up in residential and commercial trash containers at homes and businesses across the country. WM’s CORe® process helps solve this issue. CORe® provides a proven method for processing food wastes into a high BTU content product, ideally suited for the production of renewable energy.