Bio Capital helps Essex County Council take the lead on tackling food waste by transforming it into renewable energy

Bio Capital is delighted to announce that East London Biogas (ELBL) has won a tender to process 50,000 tonnes of local food waste in 2023, with plans to increase this further to 60,000 tonnes in 2024. The agreement sees ELBL building on its existing partnership with Essex County Council to deliver considerable benefits for Essex residents and the environment.

Locally collected food waste will be fed into ELBL’s anaerobic digestion (AD) process where it is broken down in an oxygen-free atmosphere to produce a high performing, low carbon biogas and used to generate renewable electricity to power local homes and businesses.

Bio Capital is helping local authorities like Essex County Council manage food waste collected at kerbside effectively, and deliver against carbon reduction and recycling targets. The agreement will save 45,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year through the production of renewable, low carbon energy, as well as reducing harmful methane emissions from food waste sent to landfill.

The delivered food waste will annually generate 100% renewable energy equivalent to powering 10,000 homes annually. Bio Capital’s Dagenham plant have plans to further expand their capabilities, introducing upgrading and injection technology to supply biomethane to the local gas grid by 2024. As well as home heat, this gas is suitable to fuel waste collection vehicles and other transport – a zero waste practice in action at sister sites.

As part of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, the UK Government has committed to eliminating at least 50% of food waste by 2030. Food waste from households and businesses in the UK is around 9.5 million tonnes (Mt), 70% of which was intended to be consumed by people (30% being the ‘inedible’ parts). The greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with the 9.5 Mt of food waste in the UK is around 25 million tonnes CO2e – which is the same as 10 million cars (or 1 in 3 cars on UK roads)[1].

Bio Capital also creates high-quality (PAS 110 Accredited) bio fertiliser as a by-product of the anaerobic digestion process. This is a sustainable alternative to chemical fertiliser which is supplied to local agriculture customers and farmers in an example of circular economies in action. The high-quality bio-fertiliser can be used by local farmers to improve soil health and significantly increase crop yields – coupling agriculture with recycling and decentralised green energy production.

Cllr Malcolm Buckley, Cabinet Member for Waste said: “We are pleased to be working with East London Biogas for the management of food waste collected at kerbside from households in Essex.  Together with our innovative work engaging with residents to reduce their food waste and to correctly recycle food that cannot be eaten, the ELBL solution ensures that the Council are effectively reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated from food waste sent to landfill, and generating usable energy for homes and businesses.”

Cllr Schwier, Essex County Council’s Climate Czar said: “It’s great to see that we are generating electricity from our food waste in this way and helping reduce our county’s carbon footprint. Not only is our food waste being used to generate renewable energy but a sustainable fertiliser is created too, all of which gets us closer to our net zero ambitions.”

[1] Wrap – Action on food waste | WRAP

Staff and council members at East London Biogas renewable energy facility

“We are delighted to be helping Essex County Council take the lead in tackling the UK’s food waste problem. With new legislation set to be introduced on food waste emissions, councils up and down the country will need to find sustainable solutions to food waste collection and emissions in their area.

Our plants embody the circular economic model, taking food waste and transforming it into a secure, local, low carbon alternative to natural gas, renewable energy and providing a high quality, organic alternative to chemical fertilisers.”

Jack Armond,

Group Head of Sales and Account

Management at Bio Capital

RELATED ARTICLES

Plans to scale up biomethane production ‘welcome’: Warrens

Will councils be forced to collect food waste?

An upcoming policy shakeup could see councils across the UK making household food recycling mandatory.

How You Can Turn Your Waste Teabags Into More Tea

Did you know that recycling just one tea bag a day for a month can produce enough energy to make another five cups?