Until recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison had a successful program to compost discarded food.

Starting in 2009, the university collected food scraps at campus cafeterias to send to the West Madison Agricultural Research Station for composting. In 2018, the university began bringing scraps to an anaerobic biodigester, now owned by Clean Fuel Partners LLC. There, the waste was converted into methane for fuel.

But the company changed its focus, leading it to drop its partnership with UW-Madison in 2021. Travis Blomberg, the campus resource coordinator for UW-Madison’s Office of Sustainability, said the digester stopped taking food and now only uses manure as an input. That change also scuttled the city of Madison’s attempt at citywide food scraps composting.

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