A new state-of-the-art facility has opened in Hertfordshire to transform the county’s potato peelings, egg shells and other food leftovers into renewable energy for thousands of homes.
The new food waste recycling facility in Hoddesdon can recycle up to 66,000 tonnes of food waste per year, converting it into enough energy to power over 6,000 homes and a nutrient-rich, natural fertiliser. It has been built by leading UK organic waste recycling company, Tamar.
A shocking 15 million tonnes of food gets thrown away in the UK each year, of which 7 million tonnes come from households. The rest comes from hospitality sector, such as restaurants and hotels, supermarkets; the public sector including hospitals, schools and prisons, and food processing and manufacturing factories. Much of this currently goes into landfill or is incinerated.
At full capacity, the new Hoddesdon plant can divert this food waste from landfill, while generating 3 megawatts of electricity, the equivalent energy of powering 44,000 fridge freezers for an entire year. The plant uses a biological process known as anaerobic digestion (AD), which uses naturally-occurring enzymes to break down food waste in airtight conditions. This produces a ‘home-grown’, reliable and constant 24/7 supply of low carbon, renewable energy. It also creates a nutrient-rich natural fertiliser that boosts crop yields when used instead of more expensive, petro-chemical derived alternatives.
Dean Hislop, Tamar’s chief executive, said: “People in Hertfordshire are making great strides in being green, recycling almost half of all their waste. The county’s first food waste collections also launched last year, which should save the Council money. We hope the availability of our new food waste recycling plant in Hoddesdon will add to this impetus, and encourage Hertfordshire homes, businesses and restaurants to do their bit even more.”
“At Tamar we firmly believe that any food that can be eaten should be, but when it is unavoidable waste such as table scraps, then it should be recycled and put to good use. Anaerobic digestion treats it as a valuable resource that can benefit future food production, the environment and our energy needs.”
Progressive local companies are recognising the benefits of this sustainable recycling service. Bidvest Foodservice, the industry’s leading foodservice provider, has already pledged to use the new local AD plant.
“We pride ourselves on being forward-thinking, so using innovative solutions to unavoidable food waste is a natural fit for us. We are continually striving to deliver best value and service excellence, so it’s exceptionally important to us that we minimise any waste first of all, and then treat unavoidable waste in the most responsible way we can. Knowing its being used to create green electricity and a natural fertiliser that is going back in the food chain just makes sense” said Nick Sherreard, Bidvest’s Stock Control Manager.
Tamar is a leading UK operator of commercial AD plants and composting sites. As well as the new Hoddesdon AD facility, it has four other AD plants in operation at Halstead, Essex; Holbeach, Lincolnshire; Basingstoke, Hampshire and Retford, Nottinghamshire. Businesses interested in sending their food waste to the new plant can contact Tamar Energy on 0207 255 7526.