Council commits to reduce carbon 'food-print'

04 May 2022

A Scots council has renewed a two-year contract to send its food waste to Scotland’s first large-scale recycling facility to be used to generate renewable energy.

East Dunbartonshire Council has committed to continue sending waste to Scottish Water Horizons’ Deerdykes Bioresources Centre near Cumbernauld where it undergoes anaerobic digestion – a process which uses bacteria to break down organic matter.

Interior view of a large hall with food waste lying on the floor. A yellow cherrypicker is transferring the food waste to a commercial hopper
The food waste hall at Scottish Water Horizon’s anaerobic digestion facility

Colin Lindsay, Operations Manager at Scottish Water Horizons said: “A less sustainable alternative is to use comingled waste – mixing food and garden rubbish – which goes to composting.

“This generates greenhouse gases – including methane – which are harmful to the environment. Sending waste to a recycling facility which uses anaerobic digestion avoids this issue whilst generating sustainable energy.

“Last year East Dunbartonshire sent 3000 tonnes of food waste to us for processing, that’s the equivalent of more than a quarter of a million weekly food shops, reducing a massive 1850 tonnes of carbon.

“This has been a great effort on East Dunbartonshire’s behalf in encouraging the public to separate their food waste, and we are confident through working together that we can build on that success in the years ahead.”

Ann Davie, Depute Chief Executive, East Dunbartonshire Council added: “We’re very proud of the fact that our residents have consistently been amongst the top recyclers in the country.

Graphical representation showing volumes of food waste recycled and carbon saved by East Dunbartonshire Council

“By renewing this contract, we are demonstrating the Council’s commitment to ensuring as much food waste as possible in East Dunbartonshire is turned into renewable energy and not sent to landfill.

“We are currently running a campaign to raise awareness locally of what items go in each of our bins to increase our area’s recycling even further.

“So far the response from our residents has been terrific which shows just how passionate they are about this issue.”

Scottish Water Horizons and East Dunbartonshire Council have joined forces on the back of the contract renewal to help drive positive recycling behaviours.

Whilst food waste should be avoided if possible, the teams involved are keen to raise awareness of the benefits of properly segregating and recycling.

The Deerdykes Bioresources Centre in North Lanarkshire has generated more than 50 GWh of green electricity – the equivalent of powering 13,500 homes for a year – since it opened in 2010.

Part of the food waste recycling plant at Deerdykes
Part of the food waste recycling plant at Deerdykes

The facility harnesses gas from food waste using anaerobic digestion to generate green energy using a combined heat and power engine (CHP).

Scottish Water Horizons is a commercial subsidiary of Scottish Water and plays an important part in helping the organisation meet its Net Zero ambitions, by maximising opportunities for green energy production on Scottish Water sites.

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