Yarra Valley Water has processed 100,000 tonnes of food waste

Yarra Valley Water’s waste to energy facility has processed 100,000 tonnes of food waste, enough to fill 40 Olympic sized swimming pools.

The emissions saved are equal to removing more than 45,000 cars from the road in Victoria, Australia, for a year, with enough renewable electricity produced to power Yarra Valley Water’s head office for 11 years.

This major milestone follows the Wollert facility’s busiest period yet, with over 3,000 tonnes of food waste received and processed. The waste to energy business model makes it cheaper for businesses to deposit food waste at the facility than at a landfill, while also offering them a way to support the environment.

“We’re focused on supporting the health and wellbeing of our customers and creating a brighter future for communities and the natural environment by reducing our carbon footprint,” said Pat McCafferty, managing director at Yarra Valley Water.

“The waste to energy facility has allowed us to work with the communities we serve to contribute to a circular economy by slashing food waste that typically ends up in landfill and reducing our emissions.”

Over the past four years, the plant has reduced the company’s energy costs and generated over $8 million in benefits – savings that help the organisation to maintain affordable bills for customers. The facility powers itself as well as the neighbouring sewage and recycled water treatment facility, with enough excess energy – around 70% - to export to the grid.

Yarra Valley Water has partnered with over 20 business that provide spoiled food waste to power the facility, ranging from fruit and vegetables from shopping centres and markets to food manufacturing waste, grease trap waste, and restaurant food waste.

“The reception we’ve had from the business community shows that it is absolutely possible to make environmental projects commercially viable, without the need for subsidies,” added McCafferty.

The company recently announced it will build a second waste to energy facility, which will operate at an even greater capacity than its existing facility at Wollert. The new facility at Lilydale will process around 50,000 tonnes of food waste annually.

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