Feeding the National Grid with tonnes of left-over food

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Over 100,000 tonnes of food waste has been recycled at a purpose-built plant near Cumbernauld - enough to power 2000 homes for a year.

Owners of the facility at Deerdykes Development Centre say they have reached a milestone, recycling unwanted food from councils, hotels and industry and converting it into clean, green energy,

Deerdykes, which was Scotland’s first large-scale food recycling facility, has been running for five years, operated by Scottish Water Horizons, a subsidiary of the public utility.

Its technology is centred around an anaerobic digester (AD) which generates bio-gas and uses this to generate electricity.

Andrew Macdonald, head of Scottish Water Horizons said: “From left-overs to produce passed its use-by date, people living and working in Scotland are becoming more and more used to recycling food. The fact that food can then be transformed into clean, green energy at facilities such as Deerdykes is a great way of helping to build Scotland’s low carbon economy.

“It’s all part of our wider efforts to maximise the value of Scotland’s water resources and assets. In providing essential services to customers, Scottish Water is a significant user of energy, and in the last two years we’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that can be generated at our treatment works and in our water mains to more than 50GWh.

“Through use of technologies such as solar panels and hydro turbines in pipes, several of our treatment works can now generate all - and in some cases more - of the energy they need to operate. This is helping to reduce our energy costs for the benefit of customers while contributing to national renewable energy targets.”

Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables said: “Scotland’s AD sector is thriving, with recent figures showing there are 27 plants across the country, up 69 per cent on a year ago. Deerdykes is providing green electricity to the grid and reducing the amount sent to landfill - both outcomes which help the environment.”

Food recycling is growing

Earlier this year the law changed and now all local authorities in Scotland are required to offer householders (except in rural areas) a food waste recycling service.

New legislation is being introduced in January requiring any businesses (except in rural areas) which produce 5kg or more of food waste per week to recycle it.