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UK’s first ‘super’ anaerobic digestion food waste plant opens

Leading UK waste specialist Biffa has launched the UK’s first ‘super’ anaerobic digestion (AD) plant dealing with food waste near Cannock, Staffordshire.

The new facility, which is the biggest in the UK, will process up to 120,000 tonnes of food waste from homes and businesses every year to produce enough renewable energy to power 6,000 homes and a soil improver that can be used in the same way as compost.

Speaking at the plant launch, Biffa chief executive Ian Wakelin said: "This is the future of waste. It is taking food that could once only be sent to landfill and turning it into something of value on a truly industrial scale. It is a key milestone in society’s drive to reduce waste, cut emissions and recover the inherent value in our waste."

The Cannock facility is the latest in a long line of commitments from Biffa to handle more of the UK’s food waste. It forms part of Biffa’s expanding network of AD plants and follows on from the launch of its National Food Waste Recycling Service for businesses earlier in the year.
Ian Wakelin added: "We all want to recycle more. It is initiatives like this which allow us to do so with minimum effect on our day to day lives at home or at work."

Every year, the UK throws away around 15 million tonnes of food waste (source: Defra/WRAP) and it is thought that around half of this comes from businesses. Much of this food waste is currently sent to landfill sites where it breaks down into methane and carbon dioxide, both powerful greenhouse gases that contribute significantly to climate change.

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