The second phase of a massive $100 million organic waste recycling infrastructure project is now online in Riverside County. Southern California waste management and recycling company CR&R just doubled capacity to transform the region’s food and green waste into biofuel.
The expansion of CR&R’s anaerobic digestion operation in Perris brought more than two years of high-paying construction jobs to the city, as well as 10 permanent jobs ranging from sorters and engineers to chemists and operators.
“This is big time. It’s a 21st century facility that is recycling 100 percent of our organic waste, and it’s right here in our town,” says Perris Mayor Michael Vargas. “It plays into our efforts to be sustainable as a city.”
The technology also plays into California’s efforts to combat climate change with the potential to dramatically reduce GHG emissions in the State. Organic waste in landfills decomposes and emits methane—a powerful super-pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. With the help of $3 million Cap-and-Trade dollars from CalRecycle’s Organics Grants Program, CR&R’s anaerobic digestion operation in Perris can now divert about 500 tons of organic waste from area landfills each day.
“This is the second phase of a four-phase project that will ultimately process about 320,000 tons of our region’s organic waste each year,” says CR&R project engineer Michael Silva. “Each phase adds another 80,000 tons of capacity per year.”
Those food scraps, yard trimmings, and other green waste materials are processed in anaerobic digesters where the material is broken down into carbon-neutral renewable energy. CR&R uses the low-carbon biofuel in place of high-carbon diesel in its vehicle fleet. Soon, the company’s renewable biofuel will begin to flow from its Perris facility through the pipelines of the SoCalGas system, the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility.
CR&R has also started selling a soil amendment and liquid fertilizer—valuable byproducts of the anaerobic digestion process, to agricultural markets across the State.