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Visiting a food waste recycling plant

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Built in 2017, ReFood’s plant in Dagenham, London is the newest and largest of its UK facilities. The company, which specialises in food waste recycling, has two other facilities in Doncaster and Widnes. Dawn Stephens-Borg, editor of Bioenergy Insight, and managing editor Katie Woodward, were invited to see the new facility and learn more about the many ways our food waste can be utilised as part of a circular economy.

On arrival, the most noticeable thing is surprisingly not the smell (you wouldn’t know it was an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility from the perimeter) but the cleanliness. The site is neat and orderly, with no sign of ugly residues. I was greeted by Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood. He tells me that the facility was built in the Sustainable Industrial Park on a regeneration site, at a cost of £32 million (€37.3 million). The Dagenham facility converts commercial food waste into natural gas, which is injected into the grid. The remaining digestate is turned into a biofertiliser called ReGrow, which helps to fertilise crops at local farms. The crop is harvested, used by local food producers and the resulting produce is...

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