Power and Potential of Food Waste Partnerships on Display in Cleveland Coalition of urban and rural partners turn food waste at First Energy Stadium into sustainable energy

ROSEMONT, Ill., Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns and FirstEnergy Stadium, in partnership with organizations such as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®   will showcase a new system that aims to recycle stadium food waste into valuable renewable energy and fertilizer sources. This effort will annually divert 35 tons of food waste from landfills to facilities producing sustainable, natural resources for Cleveland residents. 

"This new partnership demonstrates the innovative thinking that we hoped for when USDA and EPA launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge earlier this year," said Secretary Vilsack. "Creative solutions to food waste provide communities with renewable energy opportunities and environmental benefits through reduced greenhouse gas emissions. We must better educate folks about the problem of food waste and utilize partnerships like the one in Cleveland to begin to address the issue of food waste nationwide."

The U.S. Food Waste Challenge, a joint USDA and EPA effort, is calling on others across the food chain—including producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities, and other government agencies − to join the effort to reduce, recover, and recycle food waste. To join the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, visit www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste.

The Browns are the first professional franchise to implement the Grind2Energy™ system from InSinkErator in their home stadium. Food scraps are collected and ground into a slurry, which is transported to an anaerobic digester operated by quasar energy group at The Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). At the anaerobic digester, which periodically adds dairy cow manure to lower acidity and boost the methane, quasar produces biogas for energy and fuel uses in addition to vital nutrients and fertilizer that can be reused for farming.

The implementation of the system at FirstEnergy Stadium will:

  • Divert 35 tons of food waste from landfills every season
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by 28,000 pound per year
  • Generate enough electricity to power a single-family home for a year and a half
  • Produce enough natural gas to heat 32 homes for an entire month
  • Recover enough nutrients for 3 football fields of new crops

"Digester systems are something this country's dairy farms have used for years," said Tom Gallagher, CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "But we have just begun to tap what is possible. Through new partnerships – whether it's with a stadium, or a hospital or a chain of supermarkets – dairy farms in all 50 states are able to house this type of system and turn food waste into food value for local communities. This proposition is just one of the goals that the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is setting for the immediate future."

"Cities and local communities really identify with their professional teams, so when we see franchises make these partnerships and these commitments, we think there's a potential multiplier effect for every fan that's going to walk through those turnstiles," said Allen Hershkowitz, Ph.D., the director of the Sports Greening Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "We think there's just an incredible amount of potential for sports teams and venues across the country to really act as leaders when it comes to changing the national conversation around food waste."

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively to address barriers and opportunities to foster innovation and increase sales. The Innovation Center aligns the collective resources of the industry against common priorities to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry. The Board of Directors for the Innovation Center includes dairy industry leaders representing key producer organizations, dairy cooperatives, processors, manufacturers and brands. The Innovation Center is staffed by Dairy Management Inc™. Visit USDairy.com for more information about the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Joanna Hunter
(312) 240-2880  

SOURCE Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

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