15,000 tonnes of Christmas pudding power your home!
A mountain of turkey and Christmas pudding weighing 15,000 tonnes was transformed into green energy over the holiday season by leading food waste recyclers Biogen.
The food waste which would otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration was recycled across the company’s national network of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants during the busy Christmas and New Year period to generate electricity for the national grid and a high-quality biofertiliser for farmland. Waste delivery vehicles whizzed through the plants in record time too – with average turnaround times of under 15 minutes.
Biogen’s seven AD plants annually process a quarter of a million tonnes of food waste from a variety of sources including local authorities, retailers, restaurant chains and food manufacturers. Food waste volumes typically increase over the Christmas holidays by as much as 30%. According to Unilever, over four million Christmas dinners were wasted in the UK in 2014. Biogen’s AD plants generate 11MW of valuable green electricity each year.
Karen Tomblin, Commercial Operations Manager said, “Our AD plant capacity is strictly regulated by planning and environmental permits, so we started working closely with all our customers in the autumn to determine what their requirements would be over the holiday season. We then put a bespoke action plan in place to support them. This included everyone in the business including office staff and the senior management team taking turns to man the weighbridges at each plant to keep everything running smoothly.”
Iain Pickles, Commercial Development Manager said, “One of the initiatives implemented was arranging for additional trailers at the transfer stations in order to cope with the extra influx of waste and providing extra bins and skips and more frequent collections for customers. This year was particularly challenging as the holidays fell over two consecutive weekends but by extending our site working hours and head office customer support throughout the period our customers were fully taken care of.”
Adam Feneley, Managing Director said, “Our plant teams worked extremely hard over the Christmas and New Year period to ensure they kept on top of the additional deliveries. This, along with the support from colleagues across the business, meant that we comfortably managed all the extra waste from customers with industry leading turnaround times.”