A new facility in southwest Washington is going to have an awfully big appetite. The new 66,000-square-foot facility being developed by Divert will be able to take up to 100,000 tons of discarded and unsellable food waste from grocery stores and turn it into renewable natural gas (RNG).

Historically, all this food wasted ended up rotting in landfills. Using anaerobic digestion, the new plant will be able to turn it into natural gas, which will be injected into the Cascade Natural Gas pipeline near the plant. Approximately 23,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be offset annually, which is equal to 5,000 gas guzzlers on the state’s roads.

The $100 billion facility will be located in Longview’s Mint Farm Industrial Park. Groundbreaking was set for Sept. 7.

According to the USDA, about 30 to 40% of all food produced in the U.S. goes to waste each year. That’s about 133 billion pounds of product waste; about $161 million. In greenhouse gas terms, that’s about 170 million of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere; equivalent to 42 coal-fired plants. Food waste accounts for 15% of the country’s methane emissions.

Divert has some big-name retailers on board, including Albertsons, CVS, Kroger and Target. The new plant will join two others in Southern California and Massachusetts. Another facility is under construction in Turlock, California. The company hopes to have 30 plants up and running by 2031, all within 100 miles of major cities that account for 80% of the U.S. population.

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