The mountain of food waste, which would otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration, was processed across the company’s national network of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants during the Christmas and New Year period to generate electricity for the national grid and a high quality biofertiliser for farmland.
Food waste volumes typically increase over the Christmas holidays by as much as 30%, says Biogen, and with plant capacity strictly regulated by planning and environmental permits, the company says it had to work closely with customers, which include local authorities, retailers, restaurant chains and manufacturers, to put plans in place to cope with the increased levels of demand.
Simon Musther, Biogen – “Over Christmas and New Year, our operation teams processed food waste throughout the night to ensure they were ready to receive the early morning influx the next day”
Simon Musther, head of commercial operations said: “Each customer has a different requirement so, starting in October, our Customer Support team contacted each client to understand what they were likely to need and then agreed a bespoke action plan to support them.
“In some cases this included initiatives such as providing extra bins and skips or more frequent collections. We extended our site working hours and head office customer support throughout the period including the bank holidays and Saturdays.
“Over Christmas and New Year, our operation teams processed food waste throughout the night to ensure they were ready to receive the early morning influx the next day. This approach meant our plants comfortably managed all the extra waste our customers produced and importantly it also meant we minimised any delays for vehicles tipping waste.
“The average turnaround time was less than 20 minutes, which is unheard of at such an incredibly busy time of year.”
Colin Burns, Plant Engineer at Biogen’s newest Merevale AD plant in Warwickshire commented: “We made contingency plans for all needs – early starts, late finishing, night shifts all factored in.
“While most people were having a well-earned break over Christmas the guys at the plant were shovelling and processing enormous piles of leftover brussels and turkey! But that’s the nature of the job and we have a great team who all pulled together to get the job done.”