Trash to cash: Quebec town aims to turn food waste into gas, profits
Published Saturday, November 29, 2014 10:33PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 29, 2014 11:39PM EST
A Quebec town known for producing food is now working to convert organic food waste into natural gas on a large scale.
Ste-Hyacinthe, Que., located about 60 kilometres northeast of Montreal, has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15,000 tonnes a year through its conversion of waste to gas.
In order to produce the gas, organic waste from local cheese and yogurt factories is collected, and the gas is extracted from the waste. The biogas is used to fuel up a fleet of city cars and heat city buildings, while the leftover organic waste is composted and used to beautify the city's parks and gardens.
While the process to extract biogas from organic waste was developed years ago, the scale of the conversion in Ste-Hyacinthe is new. The city wants to use 100,000 tonnes of organic matter that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Quebec's Environment Minister David Heurtel said the process is an example of the new "circular" economy.
"It's new. It's bold, it's innovative and it's creative," he told CTV Montreal. "You're talking about a fundamental change in the way we use what otherwise was treated previously years before as garbage."
Any surplus biogas will be sold gas produced in Ste-Hyacinthe will be sold.