EREF Science Session 5 – Emerging Contaminants in Organics




Speaker: Jean MacRae, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Maine

Moderator: Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, President and CEO, Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)

While a number of strategies exist to recover food waste, such as anaerobic digestion and composting, they aren’t without challenges – one of which is contamination. Contamination comes in different forms, such as inappropriate materials (e.g. plastic, glass) or emerging contaminants (e.g. PFAS) and leads to a low quality final product, problems for facilities and environmental challenges.

Although significant attention has been given to traditional non-degradable contaminants, such as plastic and glass, emerging contaminants like PFAS pose increasing challenges regarding how organics should be managed and what risks are posed.

During this Science Session, Dr. Jean MacRae of the University of Maine will discuss emerging contaminants in food waste, what facility operators view as primary concerns and what efforts are needed to address them.