Divert, Inc., an impact technology company on a mission to Protect the Value of Food™, announced the groundbreaking on its integrated diversion and energy facility in Turlock, California, funded in part by a $63 million municipal green bond issued through the California Public Finance Authority (CalPFA). The new facility will capture and turn wasted food into carbon negative renewable energy, bringing California closer to reaching its net-zero carbon pollution goal by 2045.
“The wasted food crisis is a major contributor to climate change and food insecurity. States and municipalities are on the frontlines, under increasing pressure to ensure that their communities live in healthy, sustainable environments,” said Ryan Begin, CEO and co-founder of Divert. “It is fitting that today’s announcement falls on April 26, global Stop Food Waste Day. For the past 16 years, Divert has been at the forefront of working to prevent waste through our sustainable infrastructure and advanced technologies. This is a transformative opportunity to scale Divert’s proven solutions in California and further accelerate our vision for a waste-free future.”
The U.S. alone generates more than 100 million tons of wasted food annually, with over 50% going to landfills or incinerators. Moreover, wasted food contributes up to 15% of U.S. methane emissions and 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The 65,000-square-foot facility will further deliver on Divert’s commitment to transform waste from retailers and other companies into carbon negative renewable energy, thereby preventing it from emitting harmful methane in landfills. The facility will also provide companies with data analytics, giving them the insights to take preventative steps to waste less and donate more food that is still edible.
Once fully operational in 2024, the Turlock facility will be able to process 100,000 tons of wasted food a year. The facility will offset up to 23,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year - the equivalent to taking nearly 5,000 gas-powered cars off the road a year - while the facility’s renewable energy production will be enough to supply roughly 3,000 homes each year.
States are increasingly implementing legislation to tackle climate change, including tax incentives, stricter laws for reprocessing wasted food, and stronger liability protection for food donations, as outlined in the recently passed Food Donation Improvement Act. In California specifically, the SB 1383 law passed in 2016 requires the diversion of wasted food from landfills through waste prevention or donation, and encourages the use of anaerobic digestion to create renewable energy.
“I am proud of the work my office and partners across California are doing to address climate change and meet the state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals through green financing,” said California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, CPA. “The green bond issued through the California Public Financing Authority is one example of how California is leading on climate change through quality, long term-green infrastructure opportunities. We applaud Divert’s commitment to tackling our state’s wasted food crisis with the development of this new facility, making strides toward a stronger economy and a better quality life for the people that we serve, now and into the future.”
“California has long been at the forefront of the clean energy transition while addressing climate change and food waste,” said Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to the Governor and Director of the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “We commend Divert for stepping up to help Californians with wasted food prevention, food donation, and renewable energy creation. Private sector investments like these will steer us on the path to a more sustainable future and carbon neutrality by 2045, while also creating more clean energy jobs across the state.”
"The City of Turlock is proud to support Divert's continued expansion in Turlock, which will not only bring new jobs and economic growth to our region, but make important strides in reducing the footprint of wasted food," said Amy Bublak, Mayor of Turlock. "With our existing agricultural and manufacturing strengths, this facility will empower companies to prevent wasted food from reaching landfills by transforming it into carbon negative renewable energy to fuel local homes and businesses. Further, this facility adds to our existing portfolio of a wide variety of businesses and services in our City and is another step towards Turlock being a vibrant community where you can live, work, raise your family and retire."
The Turlock facility brings Divert closer to its plans to scale to 30 facilities across the U.S. to be within 100 miles of 80% of the U.S. population in the next eight years. The company currently manages approximately 0.5% of U.S. wasted food from 5,400 food retail stores and intends to grow that to 5% through its expansion goals.