When Vermont makes headlines it always excites us. Especially when the news pertains to important issues such as renewable energy and composting. These topics are not only important to Vermont, they are vital to the way our state functions and grows.

A news release was issued this week reporting that the state of Vermont awarded $270,000 to support Clean Energy and Food Scrap Recycling. Casella Resource Solutions based out of Rutland and Grow Compost located in Waterbury have both been honored with Clean Energy Development Fund grants from the Vermont Public Service Department to start two pilot programs to exhibit the anaerobic digestion of food scraps. Anaerobic digestion is a process where microorganisms break down organic materials such as food scraps, manure or sewage sludge, where oxygen is not present. This digestion produces solid residual and biogas. Biogas which is produced of methane and carbon dioxide can be turned into energy comparable to natural gas. Solid residual can be applied to land or composted and eventually utilized as soil amendment. The advantages of this digestion can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy generation and diversion of waste.

The collaboration with the VT Public Service Department (PSD), the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets as well as the Agency of Natural Resources will help design and execute these pilot programs. The PSD also collaborated with Green Mountain Power, who donated $70,000 to help support these two projects, to expand the state's renewable energy and recycling objectives.

The main goal of these projects, will use the funds to collect and process any food scraps leftover from local businesses and institutions and deliver them to farm-based anaerobic digesters, where in turn, they will be used to create power and heat. Vermont is an agricultural leader and continues to see the value in keeping food scraps and other valuable materials out of our waste streams and landfills. By focusing on the importance of producing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Vermont will continue on towards the fight against climate change and the great benefits that accompany these changes.

Recycle Away fully supports clean energy and Zero Waste Initiatives. Increasing waste diversion and supporting the development of a zero waste economy is important to us. Vermont's Universal Recycling Law is going to shape the future of our state and help Vermont continue to be an environmental leader.

Do you keep valuable materials out of your waste stream? Do you recycle and compost your food scraps? Share your story with us on Facebook.