UK resource management firm boosts food waste capability with major investment

Waste and resource management company Biffa is creating a network of strategic food waste transfer stations across the UK, as it continues to focus on the anaerobic digestion (AD) market.

Biffa is making a £1.5m investment into four new food waste transfer stations across the UK, which will be used to collect and sort food waste before it is sent to be treated at the company's AD plants in Staffordshire, Leicestershire and West Sussex.

According to the firm, the addition of the transfer stations will enable Biffa to process more food waste, in less time, creating huge efficiencies in the process of ultimately converting it into renewable energy.

The first transfer station has now been installed inside Biffa's existing state-of-the-art waste transfer plant in St Helens, Merseyside, which was built in 2011.

The upgraded facility now has the capability to process general household food waste as well as meat-based food waste produced by businesses. Further transfer stations are planned in Yorkshire, the south west of England, the south east of England and Scotland.

Chris Savage, general manager of Biffa's AD plant at Cannock, one of the largest AD plants in Europe, said: "The UK generates around 15m tonnes of food waste each year, with businesses in the food service sector accounting for just under half of this.

"Sadly, 40% of this waste is currently lost to landfill due in part to a lack of regulation, which would enforce food waste segregation among businesses as well as a lack of facilities to collect food waste."

'Liquid gold'
He added: "Biffa has a long term commitment to diverting food waste away from landfill. Our investment into the new transfer stations will create great efficiencies in the collection and preparation of food waste before it is sent to our anaerobic digestion plants.

"There, the waste is treated and converted into renewable energy which is exported to the National Grid, as well as an energy rich 'liquid gold' digestate derivative which farmers can apply to agricultural land."

Disposing of food waste responsibly is becoming increasingly important, as landfill diversion becomes the focus of waste management policy.

Research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) says the UK could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27m tonnes and businesses could save £2bn, if the country achieves zero food waste to landfill by 2020.

Biffa's AD facilities currently enable up to 240,000 tonnes of food waste per year to be recycled.

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