UK waste specialist Biffa has launched the UK's first "super" anaerobic digestion (AD) plant dealing with food waste from customers such as pub chain JD Wetherspoon.
The facility near Cannock, Staffordshire, will process up to 120,000 tonnes of food waste from restaurants, hotels, food manufacturers and homes every year. The energy generated in the process will be enough to power 6,000 homes. It will also produce a soil improver that can be used in the same way as compost.
Speaking at the plant launch, Biffa chief executive Ian Wakelin said: "This is the future of waste. It is taking food that could once only be sent to landfill and turning it into something of value on a truly industrial scale. It is a key milestone in society's drive to reduce waste, cut emissions and recover the inherent value in our waste."
A recent study by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and WRAP estimates that the UK throws away around 15 million tonnes of food waste every year, with around half of this coming from businesses. Much of this food waste is currently sent to landfill sites where it breaks down into methane and carbon dioxide, both powerful greenhouse gases that contribute significantly to climate change.
By Neil Gerrard
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