Food waste upcycled into Biogas Energy

10th July 2019

At Redrow Head Office, we’ve been working with our environmental solutions company Veolia to look into ways we can better manage our office waste. Subsequent to this review, we have introduced a new procedure for the food waste produced from the canteen.

Our catering waste is now segregated onsite and collected by Veolia, who transport it to a special anaerobic digestion plant in Widnes, where it is transformed into a useful resource – biogas.

Biogas is a renewable source of energy which can be converted into electricity and used to power homes. This is much better for the environment than food waste going to landfill, as organic waste discarded in landfill creates methane and carbon dioxide (significant greenhouse gases), contributing to climate change as it breaks down. To put this into perspective; according to the UN, if global food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.

Gavin Cooper, Facilities Manager at Redrow Group Services, has been guiding the canteen staff on the new process for onsite food waste segregation. Gavin said, “Food waste accounts for a significant amount of our overall office waste. As well as helping the environment, recycling our food waste will also bring long term financial benefits.”

Segregating our food waste onsite will save the company money in the long-term, as food waste is cheaper to collect than landfill waste. It is becoming more expensive to send material to landfill because of decreasing capacity and rising Landfill Tax - atwhich the current rate stands at £88.95 per tonne. The Landfill Tax Regulations (1996) were introduced to encourage organisations to produce less waste, dispose of less waste, and recover value from the waste produced.

Ann Doherty, Redrow Account Manager at Veolia, estimates that at Head Office we will divert approximately 4.2 tonnes of food waste from landfill in 2019. This reflects our wider company waste and recycling targets, and we have made a commitment to divert at least 95% of our waste from landfill.

Olivia Ward, Sustainability Coordinator

Image Credits:  Veolia