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How The Cleveland Browns Are Helping To Turn Food Waste Into Renewable Energy

The Browns are the first professional franchise to implement the Grind2Energy food waste recycling system.

The Cleveland Browns are doing their part to help reduce food waste and create renewable energy at the same time.

The NFL team kicked off a food waste program at FirstEnergy Stadium in 2013, in hopes of diverting food scraps from landfills, and has made some great progress since. The Huffington Post’s Karah Preiss stopped by the stadium on Monday to see the program in action and learn more about the way that the Cleveland Browns Hospitality Group handles food waste.

Jessica Jacobson, the general manager at the stadium, told Preiss that about 10,000 pounds of unsold and untouched food from the stadium gets donated to the Cleveland Food Bank each year. But the rest of the food scraps ― pre-consumer scraps like peels and bones and post-consumer food that patrons may not have finished eating ― get turned into renewable energy.

After every game, food scraps head to the stadium’s Grind2Energy unit, where the food takes about four to five days to be ground up, Jacobson said. Once the scraps pass through the system and reach “a slurry consistency,” the scraps are pumped into a sealed holding tank and the final step in the process begins.

The food then gets hauled away to Quasar Energy Group’s anaerobic digester, where bacteria break down organics without oxygen and generate methane gas, Mark Suchan, operations manager at Quasar Energy Group said. That gas is then run through a generator where it is turned into electricity, he added.

“Within 25 days [the food] breaks down and it’ll generate methane gas that we’ll use to ... generate electricity for about 900 homes locally,” he said. “And we also generate natural gas from the methane and that powers our vehicles as well.”

Check out the video above to watch how the food gets converted into renewable energy.

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