Nestlé’s plans to build an anaerobic digestion plant for treating waste at its Fawdon site in Newcastle, UK, have been given the green light by planners.
The facility will receive all of the solid food waste and waste water generated by the factory, which makes much of the Rowntree range, including fruit gums and pastilles, as well as a number of other confectionery lines such as Caramac, Rolo, Munchies, After Eight Bitesize, Matchmakers, Drifter, Blue Riband and Breakaway.
The plant will treat 80,000 cubic metres of factory waste water annually to generate biogas that can be used to heat/power the factory and facilitate the recycling of ‘grey’ water back into factory processes. It will also recover energy from the 1,200 tonnes of waste food that arises from the confectionery production operation, of which 500 tonnes is currently sent to landfill and 700 tonnes ends up as animal feed.
The process will leave a residue of about 200 tonnes a year, which is rich in nutrients and can be used as an agricultural fertiliser.
The planners at Newcastle City Council who approved the scheme, said: “The proposals will result in less waste being required to be transferred to landfill sites and will equally decrease the amount of energy that is used by the factory from non-renewable sources... the proposals will benefit the business by using energy and water more efficiently, culminating in lower costs, reduced emissions and improved environmental performance and compliance.”
A Nestlé spokesperson told ConfectioneryNews.com: “We are delighted that Newcastle City Council has supported Nestlé Fawdon by approving the application for this facility. This project supports Nestlé’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing in the UK with Fawdon taking lead. In addition, the factory has recently planted a wild flower meadow within the factory grounds, creating a mini wildlife sanctuary with the aim of attracting many species of butterfly back to the area.”
Anaerobic digestion is a process in which micro-organisms break down degradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is widely used to treat industrial waste water and is now seen as a renewable energy source. An efficient anaerobic process produces biogas (methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide). This biogas can be used to generate heat and/or electricity. The process also negates the need for waste to be transferred to landfill sites.