The Walt Disney Company has a long history of donating to worthy charities, both as a huge company as a whole, and each spoke, if you will, of the Disney wheel.
Walt Disney World (WDW), for example, is a founding partner of Give Kids The World Village (an 84-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with critical illnesses and their families), and has donated their used and leftover hotel soaps to charity for years. Since 1991, Disney has been donating prepared and perishable food to Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves 60 non-profit organizations in Central Florida, including homeless and women’s shelters, soup kitchens, after-school centers, and daycare centers for children and mature adults.
But did you ever wonder what they do with their food scraps? I always figured they donated them to local farms to use as compost or as an ingredient in animal feed, but I was surprised to find out neither is the case.
As it turns out, Walt Disney World, along with The Amway Center (that’s our big sports/concert venue in Downtown Orlando – you can see it from I-4), public schools and about two dozen other organizations are donating their food scraps to a company called Harvest Power. They, in turn, can take the food and turn it into energy.
Once meals are prepared and eaten at WDW, the scraps (fat, peels, seeds, stuff that fell on the floor, leftover that aren’t eaten, etc.) are collected and brought by Reedy Creek Improvement District (they’re the immediate governing jurisdiction for the land of the Walt Disney World Resort) to the Harvest Power facility, which is just a hop, a skip and a jump from WDW property.
Harvest Power has found a higher and better use for Central Florida’s pre- and post-consumer food waste. Through a patented anaerobic digestion process, Orlando’s food and organic waste can be recycled and converted into clean energy, effectively transforming the community’s organic waste problem into a sustainable local resource.
Harvest Power has several locations in the United States and Canada, where they take part in food and green waste recycling, green waste management, custom blending, bulk mulch and soil delivery and construction/demolition recycling. But it’s only in Orlando where they’re accepting up to 120,000 tons of food waste per year and turning it into clean energy.
The facility is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so it can continue to produce clean energy that can provide enough power for thousands of homes. And Walt Disney World, as one of its largest contributors, plays a larger role in that.
Want to learn more? Click here for a PDF of a feature story about the partnership, and here’s a video with more info, as well.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary