We're all working together for a better future...
With the ever-increasing amount of food waste in the UK it has never been more important for us all to do our part. The good news is that there are now 579 AD plants in the UK – like ourselves - who are able to recycle this food waste and create green energy that can be put back into the grid, which helps to power our homes.
How much food waste is generated in the UK
Recent figures have shown that that although total food waste in the UK has fallen by the equivalent of 7% per person over the last 3 years, individual households are still generating 6.6m tonnes of food waste per year – of which 4.5m is avoidable. Overall, 13% of edible food and drink purchases are wasted, at a cost of £500 per year for an average household.
The levels of food and drinks waste by commercial and industrial businesses within the food sector amounts to around 2.9m tonnes, which has a value of over £5.2 billion.
When you group these together, the estimated total of UK post farm-gate food and drink waste is around 9.5 million tonnes per year, of which 70% could have been avoided. This has a value of over £19 billion per year, and is associated with around 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The process of food waste to energy
To be able to generate green energy, the food waste has to go through a process called anaerobic digestion - you can view a full breakdown of what anaerobic digestion is here (link to other page), but here is a brief overview of how it works here at Warrens Group.
(this might be good as an infographic or something)
Firstly, we collect the food waste from local businesses in the North East using our fleet of vehicles, all of which are powered by our renewable energy!
The food waste is then brought back to our plant at Newton Aycliffe where it is then added to one of our digestion systems. From here, the contaminants are removed, the fuel is treated and then the breakdown of the organic materials begins.
At the end of the process we are left with our methane biogas – which can then be used to fuel vehicles and our homes, plus digestate which is a nutrient-rich fertiliser, and again can be reused in many positive ways.
What is green energy and what are the benefits
So green energy is also known as renewable energy, and is energy that is generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, water and in our case – food waste.
One of the main benefits is that green energy is better for the environment than fossil fuels as it causes less pollution, and as it is renewable, it will never run out.
Also, the creation of green energy allows us to diversify our energy supply and therefore reduce dependency on imported fuels – helping to create more jobs in the process.
How can you do your bit
There are many ways that we can all do our bit to not only help bring down the amount of food waste in the UK, but to also generate and support the production of green energy.
Firstly, be mindful of the food waste that you are creating. Shop more efficiently and aim to prevent wastage. We know it is near impossible for households and businesses to have zero food waste, so it is important to make sure that you recycle as much of the waste as you can – this way it will end up at plants like ours where we can work our magic!
Another way to show your support is to make sure you are on a green energy tariff for your home or business energy supply. By doing this you are not only supporting the use of green energy, but you are also reducing the reliance of fossil fuelled energy – and don’t worry, you’ll find nowadays that most energy suppliers will have a green energy option and, in some cases, you may even save money!
Finally, spread the word of green energy benefits to your friends, family and colleagues. The more people that understand the positive impact is has on our environment, eco system and carbon footprint the better!