Greek yogurt, everybody’s favorite tasty, healthy snack, has an ugly side to it. Each year, the manufacturers of the confection are left with millions of gallons of acidic, toxic waste.
You see, the process in which Greek yogurt is created differs from that of traditional yogurt. The Greek variety yields acid whey, a toxin that kills marine life during its decompository process. No known technique for doing away with the waste has been standardized, leaving the millions of pounds of waste sitting around.
A few suggestions are feeding it to livestock, turning it into infant formula, generating electricity, and more. However, since Greek yogurt has become a skyrocketing popularity in the United States, keeping up with its demands has slowed down the process of getting rid of the waste.
You can chalk that unfortunate oversight up to a lack of future planning on the manufacturer’s part. They simply didn’t see this wave of consumerism on the horizon. Now they must act quickly as the gallons of waste continue piling on top of one another.
Currently, farmers are paid to take the waste off their hands and give it to livestock, although as farmer Neil Rejman explained, there’s only so much they can give to their animals.
“It’s like dropping water onto a pizza…How do you handle all the whey without screwing up the environment?”
Another process that Rejman uses to dispose of waste is also one that powers his farm. It requires heating the acid, letting it sit in giant tanks to break down the bacteria, releasing the gas, and using generators to turn the gas into electricity. It’s an expensive setup, but will pay for itself over time. State subsidies help lower the cost, making it a viable option for farmers.
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