FOOD waste collected from south Warwickshire homes is generating renewable energy.
Households in Stratford and Warwick districts now get weekly separate collection of food waste, and in the first year of the scheme being rolled out some 9.9 tonnes was collected for recycling.
It goes to Severn Trent Green Power which has just signed a new contract with Warwickshire County Council, which will see around 20,000 tonnes of food waste processed at a specialist plant in Coleshill.
The high-tech plant will take in food waste collected at the kerbside and turn it into sustainable energy. The biomethane produced as the waste decomposes in huge digestion vessels will generate renewable energy in the form of both gas and electricity.
The biogas generated is used by neighbouring businesses via a local gas grid. The electricity produced is used to power the digestion facility itself, used to power the neighbouring sewerage plant and sent to the national grid.
Heat made in the process of generating the electricity is used to heat the onsite processes. The resultant digestated food waste remaining at the end of the process is used by local farmers as a nutrient-rich fertiliser, known as digestate.
The new contract secures processing capacity for the food waste currently being collected in Stratford and Warwick districts, and also for future food waste that may be collected in other parts of Warwickshire.
WCC environment spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “Anaerobic digestion is a sustainable way to treat food waste from households in Warwickshire. It is an excellent example of making the best use of our waste resources in Warwickshire.
“Food waste collected separately will be used to generate renewable energy and fertiliser, saving thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and putting the waste to good use.
“It is still very important for households to do everything they can to avoid unnecessary food waste in the first place. Easy tips to follow are to make a meal plan and shopping list, make good use of your freezer and make tasty snacks and meals from leftovers.”
Making more sustainable food choices is also part of the wider work of the Warwickshire Food Strategy which has been developed by the Warwickshire Food Forum partnership. The strategy focuses on taking action against food poverty, and being able to make good quality, healthy and affordable food available for all across the county.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/warwickshirefoodstrategy for further details.