MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Nineteen new municipalities are joining Middletown in starting a food scrap program as part of an ongoing effort to cut down on food waste.

“The most important thing we can get out of this grant is to implement the program, but, secondly and equally important is to raise awareness of the general public to understand why and how it’s important to do so,” Sen. Tony Hwang (R-District 28) said.

Middletown has been sorting food scraps from other trash for about six months. Now, Bethel, Bethlehem, Middlebury and Kent, along with 15 other municipalities and three regional waste authorities, will also take part.

The state has had a problem with trash after Hartford’s big waste energy plant shut down last year. Since then, 40% of waste has been taken out of the state.

“When doing the math, you realize that it will take 26,000 100-yard trucks annually to move that waste,” said Jen Heaton-Jones, the executive director of the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority.

Of the trash, 22% is food scraps and yard waste.

Places like Quantum Biopower in Southington can turn food scraps into methane gas to generate electricity. Leftovers are used for animal feed.