South Windsor Wants To Bring Bio-Recycling To Town

Hartford Courant || September 26, 2018

When Evergreen Walk retail development was under construction, Town Manager Matthew B. Galligan took a busload of retailers on a tour to bolster interest in the new shopping area.

Now Galligan is planning a possible bus trip to Quantum Biopower, to ramp up interest in biorecycling. Galligan is hoping the Southington-based company will open an east-of-the-river facility in South Windsor. The company opened a $14 million organic waste “anaerobic digestion” plant in Southington last year.

Galligan is hoping to convince large chains like Aldi and Stop & Shop to commit to bringing their organic waste to a plant in South Windsor. Aldi has a 700,000-square-foot distribution center in town that supplies 120 markets.

He’s also hoping to meet with school officials from both South Windsor and neighboring communities, along with hospital and other care facilities, like nursing homes.

“Let them look at the place and let them see the place and understand what it’s all about,” Galligan said. “Let’s see if we can get one or two major players to make those commitments. … People are interested, but nobody is making that commitment. … All I need is one of them to commit.”

Food and other organic waste at the Southington facility is placed in tanks where microbes eat the material and give off methane as a byproduct. The gas is used to generate electricity, with the waste also producing compost.

Galligan has been working with the company to potentially bring a regional facility east of the Connecticut River and locate it within South Windsor’s industrial area, next to the railroad line. He’s also been talking with area trash haulers.

“The one thing I’m trying to do is get a meeting with a major supermarket that would have 70 to 80 supermarket chains,” Galligan said. “This way the plant knows it has a certain amount of revenue or income to start up and that it will be able to survive. Once this program is started, it’s going to take off. Everybody is going to want to go there...we just have to have a campaign to get them on board.”

The town has been exploring ways to take food waste out of its waste stream and lower its tipping fees to haul trash away.

Studies have indicated about 22 percent of residential trash is food waste. Connecticut produces more than 500,000 tons of organic waste each year, according to a 2015 study. The state has set a target of a 60 percent reduction in the overall amount of disposed trash by 2024.

“In order to have Quantum Biopower be truly interested to move in this direction, we will need to do some groundwork,” Mayor M. Saud Anwar said. “We can do some of the groundwork for industry relevant in South Windsor and surrounding towns.”