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Marin County Unveils Program That Turns Food Scraps, Sewage Into Energy

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) -- Marin County's garbage and sewer services have teamed up to turn food scraps and wastewater into energy in a new program unveiled Tuesday in San Rafael.

Dinner leftovers and food scraps from Marin restaurants are collected and ground up at Marin Sanitary Service and then delivered to the Central Marin Sanitation Agency, where it is combined with sewage to produce methane biogas.

The gas fuels the sanitation agency's giant generator, which reduces their PG&E bill.

"We're generating 75 percent of our energy demand right now and that's from the food waste from 35 restaurants," said Central Marin Sanitation Agency General Manager Jason Dow. "There's another 215 that are eligible."

Dow said once a few more restaurants get on board the sanitation agency will be completely energy independent and will start exporting electricity back to PG&E.

The Marin Sanitary Service estimates the program will eventually serve about 75 percent of the county and save the county money in the long run.


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