At the opening, WMOC was joined by the Director of California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) Margo Reid Brown, City of Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche, Mission Viejo Mayor Pro Tem Dave Leckness and City of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.
Located at WMOC’s Transfer and Processing Center in Orange, the Food and Organic Recycling facility processes food and organics collected from local businesses, and converts it into a material that can be used as a source of energy. Local companies that will be sending organic waste to the WMOC facility include Fashion Island, Olive Garden, Montage Laguna Beach, Irvine Company, Hyatt Irvine and Lucille’s BBQ Grill in Lake Forest.
“With our new technology, we will be able to recycle more food and organics than ever before and offer the region a viable green solution for transforming previously unused food waste and other organics into sustainable products,” said Jason Rose, market area vice president for Waste Management of Orange County. “This investment in green infrastructure allows us to take materials that were previously sent to the landfill and provide a solution that ensures beneficial reuse.”
Under the company’s program, separated food and organics are collected at participating businesses. WMOC then picks up and transports the food and organics to the recycling facility where it is processed in a specially designed bio-separator. With this process, all contaminates are removed from organic waste, which is then transformed into an organic slurry that can be mixed with other complementary liquids to maximize its use in creating green energy. While WMOC and other companies have had the capability to compost or convert food waste into a soil amendment through dehydration, this is the first technology in the region that creates an end product that can be used for a number of sustainable applications, including the creation of green energy.
CalRecycle estimates that food waste accounts for nearly 16 percent of the overall waste stream in California, over 6 million tons per year.
“Most organic material – like much of the food waste discarded by restaurants and hotels – can be recycled or composted and put to more valuable end uses,” said Margo Reid Brown, director of CalRecycle. “By processing food and organics using the latest available technology, Waste Management is taking an important step to protect our environment while helping local municipalities meet diversion goals.”
“Investing in the future is important to all of us at Waste Management,” continued Rose. “This facility will help us in the long term to support the communities, customers and cities we serve.”
Recognized as an environmental leader in Orange County, Waste Management’s new facility expands the company’s green programs in the region which include:
Installing dehydration machines as part of a regional food waste diversion pilot program at several Orange County businesses;
Creating a $1.7 million recycling sort line at the company’s Irvine Processing and Transfer Facility to help divert construction material from local landfills;
Establishing solar trash compactors at various locations throughout Orange County as part of a pilot program to reduce collection frequency.
WMOC also uses low emission trucks in an effort to reduce the company’s carbon footprint on the road and around the county. The total of the reduced emissions from WMOC’s fleet of natural gas collection vehicles is the equivalent of removing approximately 10,000 cars from Orange County roadways every day.