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AD operators could see “avalanche” of food waste from coronavirus panic buying

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Anaerobic digestion (AD) plant operators could soon be working at maximum capacity, due to an increase in food waste as a result of panic buying.

Pump manufacturer Landia has said that AD and biogas plant operators could see "an avalanche of food" coming to their facilities, as those worried about coronavirus over-purchase food.

Howard Burton, technical sales engineer at Landia, said: "The industry needs feedstock, but as panic buyers begin to regret overloading their supermarket trolleys with too many perishables, the sudden rush of food waste may arrive at AD plants at an even bigger rate than the post-Christmas wave of unwanted goods."

According to Burton, industry operators must invest in high-quality equipment, such as pumps, in order to deal with the influx of waste. Not doing so, warns Burton, could cause equipment to become blocked, or digesters becoming weighed down with packaging waste, grit and plastics, thus affecting biogas yields.

"It's a tough industry where the learning never stops," said Burton. "But at this extremely testing time for the world, some AD and biogas operators who used food waste as a feedstock are going to find it very difficult to keep everything as balanced as possible o manage their processes. The torrent of food waste from panic buying isn't far away."