Trouble in Paradise

Maui is facing a food waste crisis. A local pig farmer who took 3 tons of restaurant and hotel garbage daily lost his lease, forcing the island’s hospitality industry to find an alternate destination for their food waste.

The stakes are high, as

the county-operated Central Maui landfill cannot safely accept the combination of liquid and solid wastes in high volume…because liquids and biomass materials in such large quantities together can create unsafe levels of methane, an extremely flammable gas, said Gregg Kresge, deputy director of the Environmental Management Department. It also has the potential to contaminate the groundwater or spread disease, he said.

The farmer, Larry Poffenroth, took the food waste to offset the $60 per day cost of feeding one hog. The average hog eats 8 pounds per day.

Other pig farmers have picked up the slack, but county officials are still searching for long term solutions. In the meantime, it’s probably best to go light on the luaus.

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