Turning Food Waste into Renewable Energy

Grocery stores, restaurants, sports arenas, schools, and hospitals in the United States generate an average of two tons – 4,000 pounds – of food waste per week. An estimated 35 million tons of food waste from commercial and residential sources end up in U.S. landfills each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Operators of commercial kitchens and other waste generators are increasingly looking for more environmentally sound ways to manage food waste than sending it to a landfill. Trucking food waste to distant landfills is costly, and decomposing organic waste in landfills can cause a host of environmental problems. Some U.S. states already have legislation in place that encourages the reduction of food waste sent to landfills and will effectively ban food waste from landfills over the next 10 years.

Emerson’s InSinkErator business – manufacturer of the world’s leading brand of food waste disposers – is working to find ways to better manage food waste. That’s why InSinkErator has developed Grind2Energy™, a revolutionary organics recycling system designed for the unique needs of commercial kitchens, institutions and other waste generators.

Here’s how a Grind2Energy system works: 

  • - The Grind2Energy system grinds up food scraps as fast as you can feed it. 
  • - The food waste slurry is stored in a sealed tank onsite which is regularly emptied and the slurry transported to a wastewater treatment plant or other facility equipped with anaerobic digestion technology.
  • - With anaerobic digestion, the biogas can be captured as renewable energy, and the leftover solids treated and used as fertilizer.  The biogas can be used to produce electricity or to power vehicles.

The Grind2Energy system makes food waste cleanup easier, improves hygiene, reduces odor and pest problems, lowers waste disposal costs, and recycles food waste into energy.

The Grind2Energy system is currently in use on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio. The renewable energy produced from food waste recycled through the Grind2Energy system has generated roughly $4,000 in savings per year for the university’s Blackwell Inn and Conference Center. The system is also in use at the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, home of the Cleveland Browns.

To find out how Grind2Energy can help your commercial kitchen transform food waste to renewable energy, visit