Food waste recycling firm gets seal of approval for fertiliser
Biogen’s food waste recycling plant in South Wales has been awarded the PAS 110 industry certification for its digestate, a valuable co-product resulting from the recycling process.
The Bryn Pica anaerobic digestion (AD) plant near Aberdare recycles 22,500 tonnes of food waste each year collected from households by local authorities and from this waste produces the digestate which is spread to local farmland. The AD plant also generates 1.2MW of renewable electricity for the grid, enough to power over 2,000 homes for a year.
The PAS 110 accreditation given to AD operators by the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS) provides assurance to consumers, farmers, food producers and retailers that the digestate produced from anaerobic digestion is safe for human, animal and plant health and is fit for spreading to farmland as a replacement for chemical fertilisers.
Significantly, the PAS 110 certification for Bryn Pica means Biogen is now the only UK AD operator with 6 PAS 110 certified AD plants.
The digestate is rich in nitrogen, potash, phosphate and other trace elements which is excellent for crop growth. One farmer who has given it the thumbs up is Farmers Weekly ‘Sheep Farmer of the Year’ Richard Roderick, owner of Newton Farm in Brecon, Powys.
Richard says, “We used the digestate at the end of August 2015 and were impressed with the resulting grass growth. Using the digestate instead of fertiliser should be lower cost as it is a by-product of a plant that generates energy from waste. This should make it more sustainable than oil based fertilisers.”
Julian O’Neill, Biogen’s CEO said: “It’s great news for Biogen that the quality of the digestate at Bryn Pica has been recognised by the BCS and also that farmers appreciate the environmental and commercial value.”
Biogen works with the 4R Group who specialise in Environmental Consultancy and the recycling of the digestate to farmers and landowners in the region. Jon Smith, Director of 4R Group said: “Having this quality digestate available is a real boost to the local farming community and the results from using it have been very positive.”