In the face of a changing dairy market, Barstow’s Longview Dairy Farm in Hadley, MA capitalized on another product from their cows: manure. Manure Manager reports that Vanguard Renewables invested in the construction of an anaerobic digester that allows the farm to repurpose the manure as both fuel and fertilizer while reducing business operation costs.
Anaerobic digestion is a process by which microorganisms break down organic materials in an oxygen-free environment. Besides diverting organic waste from landfills, the 600,000 gallon capacity digester produces heat and electricity, creates a nutrient-rich fertilizer, provides cost savings from waste disposal, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use. In addition to manure from the farm’s dairy, about 14,000 tons of food scraps and byproducts are also fed into the digester each year. This food waste comes from businesses in the area, such as Cabot Cooperative Creamery’s facility in West Springfield. Casella Organics manages day to day operations of the digester.
Many sites with anaerobic digesters, like Longview Farm, also accept diverted waste from other businesses. Last year, MassDEP updated its map of sites accepting food waste in Massachusetts which includes anaerobic digesters, compost sites, and animal feed operations.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has also gotten in on the action with its Organics-to-Energy grant program, which supports studies and projects related to anaerobic digestion and other technologies that convert source-separated organic waste into electricity, thermal energy, and compressed natural gas fuel. The program is currently accepting applications on a rolling basis.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts is a recycling assistance program for businesses and institutions. If you would like assistance with diverting food scraps for anaerobic digestion, animal feed, or composting, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.