CANANDAIGUA — Businesses such as Seneca Foods in Geneva and Kraft Foods in Avon often produce dented, damaged or otherwise defective cans that can’t be put on store shelves. They have been encased in plastic and taken by pallet to the Ontario County Landfill for disposal.

That could change, at least during a year-long pilot program that Casella Waste Systems wants to implement. Casella operates the town of Seneca landfill.

Company officials told the county Board of Supervisors’ Planning & Environmental Quality Committee Monday there is a machine called “Tiger” that will separate all organics or food inside those damaged cans, send the organics to a tank to be added to an anaerobic digester for energy production, and allow the clean, tin cans to be recycled instead of landfilled.

The committee voted 5-0 to recommend the full board approve give Casella authority to apply for a state Department of Environmental Conservation permit to establish and operate a 12-month pilot project that will separate food, beverages and other organic material from their packaging. The recycled materials would go to Casella’s onsite, material recovery facility. Anything that can’t be recycled or put into the digester would be landfilled.

Kristine Singer, Mark Venuti, Ted Bateman, Drew Wickham and Tamara Hicks agreed to endorse the application.

Jim Snyder, recycling manager at the landfill, said the Tiger machine uses an auger and centrifuge to separate the organics from its packaging.

“Seneca Foods is a big customer. They send pallets of plastic wrapped cans to us, as does Kraft Foods in Avon,” Snyder said. “This pilot would have three benefits of more recycling, using organics for the digester and reducing what goes into the landfill.”

He said the pilot has a goal of generating 10,000 tons of recycled material a year.

“We would not be looking at loose organics, just the food containers,” Snyder said.

In other action Monday:

• By a unanimous vote, it was recommended the county hire Impact Earth of Rochester to conduct a waste assessment at Finger Lakes Community College. The study, which would cost $3,000, will assess the college’s current waste collection and disposal programs, and make recommendations.

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