Regulations Increasingly Diverting Food Waste from Landfill

Anaerobic Digestion Boom in Scotland as Food Waste Falls

adba biogas anaerobic digestion scotland

New figures published today by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) show that Scotland’s anaerobic digestion industry has grown by more than two thirds over the past year.

The organisation said that there are now 27 AD projects up and running in Scotland, up 69% from 16 in 12 months ago, while a further 43 have planning approval. There are also a dozen more plants waiting for permission to go ahead, and the sector could grow by more than 200% in the next two years,

ADBA also noted that while amount of food thrown away in Scotland each year has fallen by 8% since 2009, less than half of Scotland’s household waste was sent to landfill in 2014 – the first time that figure has ever dipped below the 50% mark, and a sign that technology like AD can help reduce demand on landfill space.

Further, under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 more will become available to due increased numbers of household food waste collections.

“These new ADBA figures show that AD is being taken extremely seriously by Scottish businesses,” commented Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables.

“Increasingly, waste has value. The AD process recognises that, and turns things we don’t want, like food waste and farmyard slurry, into something we desperately need – clean, affordable electricity,” she continued.

Charlotte Morton, chief executive of ADBA, added:

“Scotland is leading the way in demonstrating how anaerobic digestion extracts value from our waste, while supporting farming resilience, reducing billions in carbon abatement costs, improving food security and production and generating employment and investment opportunities for rural economies.

“We are particularly excited to see AD plants working in partnership with local authorities to collect residents’ food waste and to distribute in its place heat and electricity for local homes.

“With a commitment from government to support the technology to scale – a commitment which currently does not exist – AD can deliver baseload energy that is cheaper than new nuclear by the time Hinkley Point C is built, and that can help decarbonise UK heat, farming and transport.”

Case Study

To back up its assertions, ADBA highlighted the BioGask facility based at Gask Farm near Turriff, Aberdeenshire, which uses an anaerobic digestion system to dispose of food waste and slurries for commercial customers.

The AD plant at BioGask also has the potential to use chicken feathers, maize silage and fish processing wastes to produce power.

The plant’s owner, Andrew Rennie said: “The AD plant allows local businesses to dispose of their waste in a safe and controlled way, and in a way which not only produces electricity which can be sold to the grid, but also a fertiliser which can be used on the land.”

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