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PDM food waste recycling breaks ground on new anaerobic digestion plant

PDM, the UK’s largest food waste recycler, has celebrated the start of construction of its industry-leading anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Doncaster. This technology will add another method of recycling to PDM’s portfolio of safe, secure and sustainable solutions and will use food waste as a resource to generate renewable energy.

PDM’s AD service will operate under the ReFood brand and is being developed in partnership with SARIA Bio-industries who operate a network of ReFood plants in Germany. The new plant will be able to handle 45,000 tonnes of food waste each year and will include the latest de-packing systems to handle all types of food waste from across the food chain – food manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, hotels and even households.

The AD process works by harnessing the natural degrading process of biodegradable matter in a controlled environment. PDM’s new plant will capture the methane produced to generate two mega watts per hour of renewable electricity, as well as heat for PDM’s site. The plant will also produce a high quality nutrient-rich fertiliser which will be supplied to local farms – importantly helping to close the recycling loop as the nutrients from food are used to grow new crops.

Philip Simpson, commercial director at PDM comments: "We’re delighted to see the start of construction of the ReFood plant. This venture helps to add another sustainable recycling solution to our existing portfolio. As a result, we’re able to divert significant tonnages of food waste from landfill, where the methane that we can capture in the AD process could otherwise end up in the atmosphere, so it’s a beneficial process on so many levels."

The ReFood plant will take around nine months to build and will include a food waste reception area, depackaging plant, digestor and combined heat and power plant. The facility is due to open in summer 2011.

Once operational, ReFood will bring 35 jobs to the local area and recycle food waste from a number of PDM’s leading customers including Sainsbury’s and commercial caterer Baxter Storey.

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