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Abstract

Anaerobic digestion is an effective method for reducing food waste at the consumer level. Drawbacks associated with this strategy include high construction costs for multiple digester units and limited public awareness of the method’s commercial potential. Given the large scale problem of food waste, an approach establishing community partnerships between local businesses and primary schools is offered to combat the problem of food waste. Optimizing the placement of shared digester units enabling utilization by multiple stakeholders is the suggested mitigation method. This research explores application of the p-median problem to determine the set of optimal sites for shared anaerobic digester units among restaurants in a suburban setting, using schools as potential digester sites. Schools were selected as candidate sites, because of their potential for public outreach and education, as well as the result of a successful pilot study at a local school. The p-median problem was applied to determine optimal sites for locating these facilities in the study area of Hillsborough County, Florida. The p-median problem seeks to locate p facilities at i locations while minimizing the total transportation cost necessary to satisfy customer demand, where each customer is supplied from the closest facility. Five scenarios were evaluated, including runs with a p equal to 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 facilities respectively, using an estimated acceptable transportation distance of 250 meters between waste producers and digester facilities. Results were evaluated in terms of the number of producer locations serviced relative to the p number of digester facilities desired. This application demonstrates how the p-median problem can serve as a useful planning tool, providing options to planners interested in effective facilities placement for studies aimed at food waste reduction.

DOI

http://doi.org/10.5038/2164-0866.5.1.1031