Pioneering development set to increase food waste recycling in the UK
The UK’s first commercial small scale anaerobic digestion (AD) system for localised food waste treatment, which creates power, heat and biofertiliser has been unveiled by Burdens. It has been designed to speed up the adoption of AD food waste treatment plants in the UK through making them commercially viable and thereby increasing recycling rates for municipal and commercial food waste across the country.
Currently a very small percentage of all food waste in the UK is recycled through anaerobic digestion, instead going to landfill, composting or incineration.
Burdens is set to roll out the pioneering compact food waste treatment plants following extensive trials of a demonstrator in South West Wales, which is now accepting waste from Carmarthenshire Council and HRH Prince Charles’ estate in Wales. Each system will be capable of handling between 3,000 and 5,000 tonnes of food waste per year. Currently a significant proportion of the 19m tonnes of municipal, commercial and industrial food waste, which is generated by homes, retailers, catering operations and food manufacturers, is not recycled. This presents significant opportunities to increase recycling rates and reduce emissions in line with Government and EU targets.
The issue is that there are only three dedicated AD food waste treatment plants in the UK recycling municipal sourced food waste out of a total of 32, including Burdens pilot site at Llangadog in Carmarthenshire, which will become the company’s first treatment site for domestic waste. The others treat other types of food wastes from catering outlets, food retailers and manufacturers. Apart from the Burdens plant, the other AD operations are significantly larger and perform a central waste treatment function rather than a local service.
As part of the development programme, Burdens has widely consulted with a number of organisations and Government departments including: Defra, DECC, WRAP, the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme, the Renewable Energy Association, the National Non-Food Crop Centre, the Country Landowners and Business Association, the London Waste and Recycling Board, the London Community Recycling Network and the Royal Agricultural Society of England.