The UK produces a staggering 10 million tonnes of food waste each year. Around 7.3 million tonnes of this is household food waste costing families on average £470 per year and causing significant damage to the environment.
Most domestic, commercial and industrial food waste still ends up in landfill where it rots, giving off methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. But by sending food waste to Biogen’s anaerobic digestion (AD) plants it can be used to generate clean energy and produce a valuable biofertiliser for farmland, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The AD difference
A report for WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) by independent consultants, Eunomia, found that anaerobic digestion is the optimum method of dealing with food waste. It’s easy to see why.
Burning fossil fuels is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Greater use of technologies such as AD to produce renewable energy will dramatically reduce both the UK's dependence on fossil fuels and the country’s carbon emissions.
The methane-rich biogas produced by anaerobic digestion is captured for use in a combined heat and power (CHP) plants to produce electricity and heat. No methane is released to the atmosphere and carbon is saved through the displacement of energy from fossil fuels.
The residual material from the anaerobic digestion process (biofertiliser) is also used instead of fossil-fuel derived fertilisers, giving further carbon savings.
There are other environmental benefits too. According to the Committee on Climate Change, transport accounts for 24% of the UK's carbon emissions. Using Biogen’s local network of AD plants and available transfer stations reduces the need to transport waste and fertiliser over long distances.
Anaerobic digestion is already attracting increasing attention from more and more people, all seeking to set up food waste collection schemes. Many retailers, food manufacturing companies and farmers also see anaerobic digestion as the solution to their waste problems and a demonstration of corporate social responsibility – and as a way of genuinely boosting their green brand credentials. Biogen can propose a waste management plan for any organisation that has both financial and environmental long term benefits.