Biffa builds food waste composting plant in Derbyshire

31 August 2006

Waste firm Biffa has begun building a £3 million in-vessel composting facility in Etwall, Derbyshire, which should open next March.

The 24,000 tonne capacity plant is being funded with a £560,000 grant from WRAP and will service South Derbyshire district council, East Staffordshire borough council and Lichfield district council.

This facility will allow us to accept kerbside-collected kitchen waste for recycling at Etwall and convert it into a reusable soil conditioning compost.
- David Morgan, Biffa
The new composting facility in Etwall will mean 24,000 out of the 37,000 households in the Derbyshire area will be able to participate in an alternate weekly green and food waste collection from next spring.

Biffa composting manager David Morgan said: "Biffa is delighted to be working with WRAP to provide a recycling facility that will help three local authorities meet their statutory recycling targets and will divert even more material from landfill.

"This facility will allow us to accept kerbside-collected kitchen waste for recycling at Etwall and convert it into a reusable soil conditioning compost for use within the landscaping sector," Mr Morgan added.

WRAP supply programme manager (organics) Louise Hollingworth said: "This project marks a crucial step in taking us further towards meeting our challenging target of increasing the UK's processing capacity for municipal waste by 450,000 tonnes per annum by March 2008."

Enclosed, in-vessel systems are necessary for the treatment of food waste in order to meet the Animal by-Products Regulations, which controls the disposal of meat products to prevent harm to human or animal health.

In the Biffa system, waste materials will be processed within large, sealed concrete tunnels where air flow and moisture content can be monitored and controlled. This will create the optimal conditions for naturally occurring micro organisms to break the waste down into compost.

Gillian Coates from South Derbyshire district council said that the new composting site could divert 15% of the district's waste from landfill. She said the facility complied with the council's aims to "encourage recycling and remove as much residual waste out of the residual waste bins – making alternate waste collections feasible."

Vital Earth
Before the new food waste service begins, South Derbyshire is starting a new phase of its green waste collection service on September 11. An extra 3,000 homes will join the 18,000 households already on the scheme, which sees material composted by Vital Earth at its in-vessel plant in Ashbourne.

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South Derbyshire DC
Ms Coates said the district's decision to use the Biffa in-vessel plant rather than the Vital Earth facility from next year was because the new plant would be closer to the district, "putting the proximity principle into effect".

The council has been running a composting programme for the last 10 years and Ms Coates said they were "very strict" with their residents, encouraging them to "wrap waste in loose paper or compostable bags which we sell at the civic hall shop".