New plant removes organics from trash headed to landfill – Sacramento Business Journal

Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc. has opened Sacramento’s first organic material pre-processing facility to divert food waste from landfills and turn it into renewable energy.
Republic Services (NYSE: RSG), a national recycling and waste disposal company that operates in 41 states, opened the center this week at its existing Elder Creek transfer station south of Depot Park.
The high-speed sorting equipment will be used to process organic material from commercial garbage in most of Sacramento County, which is mandated to begin statewide Jan. 1, said Chris Seney, director of organics operations for Republic.
“Most of the organics action is in California,” he said, adding that the company built its first pre-processing operation four years ago in Anaheim, and it completed one earlier this year in Martinez.
The equipment takes waste vegetables, fruit and other foods, as well as yard waste, from hotels and restaurants, and sorts it to separate organic material from plastic and other packaging, which can be 5% to 10% of the waste stream. The organic material is sent to an anaerobic digester operated by a third party, which turns the material into renewable energy. The plastic, which is a contaminate, then goes to the landfill. The process removes most of the material from going to the landfill, a requirement of 2016 legislation Senate Bill 1383, which aims to curb methane emissions. When organic material is mixed into landfills, it doesn’t decompose normally, creating greenhouse gasses.
The Sacramento operation takes most waste from the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova, as well as commercial waste from the city and county of Sacramento and the city of Folsom.
The project took two years to permit and about six months to build, Seney said. It cost about $2 million, but that is because it was built in an existing building at Republic’s transfer station in Sacramento. The equipment will only take one person to operate, but it will require Republic to hire more drivers for additional truck routes.
The Sacramento equipment is capable of sorting 40,000 pounds per hour.
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