- Illinois-based Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) is debuting an aerobic digester to process organic waste into a fertilizer byproduct, according to a press release. LRS says it is the first privately-owned company in the U.S. to use an aerobic digester to process organic waste into a fetilizer byproduct.
- LRS is launching its aerobic digester in a partnership with EcoloCap, another Illinois-based company that focuses on organic waste diversion. The LRS installation is EcoloCap's first use of its ECOS/Bio-ART system, which can process 15 tons of organic waste per day.
- According to EcoloCap, the single unit is only the "initial phase" of installation with LRS. EcoloCap's website says that the "goal" is to install more ECOS/Bio-ART systems in order to process 120 tons of organic waste daily.
At a time when biogas producers are struggling with the Environmental Protection Agency's Renewable Fuel Standard, which could make biogas production more costly, composting may be poised to edge an advantage over anaerobic digestion, at least in terms of keeping food waste out of landfills.
The success or failure of LRS and EcoloCap's partnership could have ramifications for the Chicago area. One of EcoloCap's selling points is that its system is relatively adaptable "depending on user requirements," so the aerobic digestion machines could be installed around the region — especially since LRS wants to be known for a zero-landfill approach.
While the question of what method is the absolute best for dealing with food waste is still open for debate, the 7-day remediation time certainly gives the ECOS/Bio-ART a boost. This is especially true when it's compared to composting or anaerobic digestion for biogas, both of which take weeks (though new processes may change that). Regardless of method, any diversion of food waste from landfills — which prevents the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas — could be seen as welcome, especially as climate and environmental concerns in the industry continue to gain prominence.