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Manufacturers ‘Encouraged To Use AD To Control Food Waste Problem’

Manufacturers of food and drink need more incentives to use anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities so they can produce energy from their waste instead of leaving it to rot.

According to Alpheus Environmental, a subsidiary of the Anglican Water Group, food and drink providers find it cheaper to invest in other renewable energy schemes, including wind or solar energy, than install AD facilities on their own site that could produce bioenergy.

However, if they did so, they could prevent the waste of millions of tonnes of food and litres of water a year.

Environment Journal Online reported the company’s head of business development Steven Wilcox as saying: “We meet with large-scale manufacturers who want to do the right thing and meet their sustainability targets, but at present the incentives simply aren’t there for them to choose anaerobic digestion.”

He added that many manufacturers are deterred from investing millions of pounds into AD technology on their site due to the uncertainty of Brexit, as they do not know what will happen with their exports or how they will source ingredients in the future.

While many small food manufacturers are familiar with utilising AD processes, which treats biodegradable waste and produces energy, biosolid slurge or biogas, the same cannot be said for bigger firms. Indeed, only 45 out of the 639 AD sites in Britain are industrial-sized factories, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bio-resources Association (ADBA) revealed.

One area of the country that is taking an active part in using vacuum relief valves and employing AD processes is Devon.

The North Devon Gazette recently reported that no food waste in the area goes to landfill, but it is sent to AD plants instead.