Food scraps to fuel garbage trucks

The South San Francisco Scavenger Company has announced plans to use leftover food scraps to produce carbon negative fuel for their collection trucks.

Residents in South San Francisco, Millbrae and Brisbane will be able to deposit fruit, vegetable peels, meat, bones, napkins, pizza boxes, and milk cartons into pails that will be distributed over the next two weeks.

Those materials will be combined with yard trimmings and used as feedstock for a new on-site anaerobic digestion facility, which produces clean fuel as well as compost.

Recycling manager Barbara Bernadini said:

“When the material breaks down in the digesters, it creates methane gas. … We’ll be converting it to compressed natural gas to fuel our vehicles.”

Bernadini said the first digester was installed Monday, and it’s already generating gas. It may take a few weeks, however, before that gas can be used to fuel collection trucks.

Doug Button, president of the company, said they hope to generate 300 to 500 gallons of fuel per day once the facility is running at full capacity.

Contaminants like plastic, glass, metal, pet waste and kitty litter will disrupt the anaerobic digestion process and cannot be used as feedstock. For more information go to www.ssfscavenger.com/foodscraps or call (650) 589-4020.