New York state recently passed a food waste (FW) disposal ban, which will prohibit land-filling of FW produced by commercial entities generating more than 2 tons/week by the year 2022. This will redirect 370,000 tons/year of FW from landfills. In this work, we investigate three questions about the landfill ban: 1) How can this waste be diverted to treatment facilities at lowest system cost? 2) To what degree can an expanded anaerobic digestion portfolio help with the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards? 3) What policies can help with the transition of waste-to-energy technologies? We develop a mixed-integer linear programming model that identifies lowest cost solutions to FW disposal by finding the optimal locations, capacities, FW intake, and energy generation around the state. Results suggest that a mix of composting (61%) and FW-only digestion (39%) is the cheapest response to the landfill ban without complementary policies but adding policy support (capital or production subsidies) can increase electricity production from digestion by 10x at a government cost between $55 and $315 per ton of CO2 abated.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Food waste--Management--Economic aspects; Refuse as fuel; Waste products as fuel; Anaerobiosis; Compost

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Sustainable Systems (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Sustainability (GIS)


Eric Hittinger

Advisor/Committee Member

Callie Babbitt

Advisor/Committee Member

Eric Williams


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes