Philadelphia soliciting ideas to digest pre-processed food scraps
Dive Brief: The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) recently issued a request for information (RFI) about potential ways to co-digest food scraps at either of its two "water pollution control plants."
These two PWD facilities are set up to capture biogas for on-site use and create Class A biosolids that can be turned into fertilizer pellets.
PWD already co-digests aircraft deicing fluid through a partnership with the Philadelphia International Airport and has determined that excess capacity is available, creating "a prime opportunity for food waste."
The RFI includes multiple pages of specifications about the quality of expected material and the experience of any potential vendor.
Dive Insight: The Philadelphia Streets Department estimates that 228,000 tons of food are discarded in the city every year, making this portion of the waste stream a key component of multiple city initiatives.
In 2015, the city began requiring certain commercial generators to divert their food scraps and last year Mayor Jim Kenney established a goal of "zero waste" by 2035.
Discussions and hearings have been ongoing in the months since.
Philadelphia’s previous mayor mandated the installation of in-sink disposers for new residential construction — a concept which has been gaining more traction in other cities too — but this new proposal could lead to a significant expansion in material diversion.
Co-digestion has been receiving renewed focus from industry associations and is currently on display at various levels in multiple cities.
An information session will be held on July 6 and RFI responses are due by August 4.