Leading waste services provider, Biffa, has secured a four-year food waste treatment contract with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council following a competitive tender process.
From 4 July 2016, specially designed vehicles will begin collecting segregated food waste from 55,000 residential properties across the Newcastle borough. The food waste will then be treated at Biffa’s flagship anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in Cannock, one of the largest plants of its kind in Europe.
This facility converts the food waste – which is no longer fit for human consumption – into renewable energy gas, which is then passed back to the National Grid. Another by-product of the process, a nutrient-rich organic biofertiliser, can be used by farmers as an alternative to chemical fertiliser.
The Council currently collects 3,000 tonnes of food waste per year and hopes the new service will raise this to at least 3,500 tonnes. This will be achieved in part by providing bin liners for segregated food waste free of charge to all households, following a trial with 12,000 households, where liners and “No Food Waste” stickers were provided, resulting in a 13% increase in recyclable food waste collected.
“We look forward to supporting Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council with their drive to encourage more households to dispose of their food waste correctly so that it can be collected and converted into energy”
Chris Savage, general manager of Biffa’s anaerobic digestion plant at Cannock, said: “Biffa has a long term commitment to diverting food waste away from landfill and we are continually investing in our network of anaerobic digestion facilities to achieve this and ensure that as much of the UK’s annual 15m tonnes of food waste as possible are not lost to landfill.
“We look forward to supporting Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council with their drive to encourage more households to dispose of their food waste correctly so that it can be collected and converted into energy.”
Trevor Nicoll, Head of Recycling, Waste and Fleet Services at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, added: “We’ve been collecting food waste separately on a weekly basis since 2010 and whilst we were doing OK, we hope that by working with Biffa we can raise the general issue of food waste with our residents. Together we would like to encourage families to use our food collection service more as there is still a lot of ‘unavoidable’ food waste in our residents’ general waste bins.
“It is important that the food waste we collect is converted into energy locally in Staffordshire, as this fits in with our strategy to collect high quality, separate recyclate while achieving best value.
“This contract with Biffa is part of a wider service change including the insourcing of the collection service and moving to a weekly kerbside recycling service which has been designed to save more than £500,000 per year.”
Disposing of food waste responsibly is becoming increasingly important, as landfill diversion becomes the focus of waste management policy. Research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) says the UK could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27m tonnes and businesses could save £2bn, if we achieve zero food waste to landfill by 2020.
Biffa’s anaerobic digestion facilities currently enable up to 240,000 tonnes of food waste per year to be recycled.