CLEVELAND — Well before the start of a Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field, as players warmed up on the jewel-green field, it was business as usual in the garage behind left field for C. L. Gholston, a dishwasher.
He had wheeled down gray bins full of kitchen scraps — pineapple and melon rinds, carrot shavings and tomato ends — that were all part of the mix he fed into a contraption he calls the energy machine.
Built by InSinkErator, the garbage disposal maker, the machine grinds all types of food waste, including skin, fat, flesh and bone, into a slurry that is later transformed into energy and fertilizer at a plant operated by the renewable energy company Quasar.
As governments and industry seek to reduce emissions of methane — a more powerful heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide — by limiting the amount of organic waste in landfills, large food processors are looking for new ways to get rid of their leftovers. Food waste, an estimated 34 million tons a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent figures, is the largest component of landfills, which are responsible for roughly 18 percent of the nation’s methane emissions.
Here in Cleveland, the Indians began using the process last year, following the Browns, who started in 2013, and a casino has recently joined the effort. InSinkErator’s system, called Grind2Energy, is winning customers elsewhere as well, including at some Whole Foods Market stores in Boston.
“We’re a wasteful nation,” said Steven M. Smith, Quasar’s chief financial officer. The company, he said, repurposes “material that is either being landfilled, incinerated — that’s not good for the economy — and we extract the energy and concentrate the nutrients, and we have water at the back end.”
Both InSinkErator and Quasar see potential in their system, which uses naturally occurring bacteria to speed decomposition. Less than 5 percent of American food waste is recovered and recycled, but it can be a potent source of energy for electricity, heat and transportation fuel.
A version of this article appears in print on May 2, 2015, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: Food Scraps for Energy.