Waste from the production of some of the most famous sweets in the UK, is helping to power and heat the factory where they are made.
Nestlé's Fawdon factory, near Newcastle, is home to the famous Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles and Gums along with iconic brands such as Rolo, Munchies, Toffee Crisp and Blue Riband. From an investment of more than £3.2 million, the installation of a state of the art anaerobic digestion plant has delivered ground breaking results while reducing our impact on the environment.
The process sends liquid and solid waste into the AD plant where naturally occurring bacteria digest the waste, creating biogas. This is used to generate renewable energy along with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing clean water.
Biogas created from the waste treatment fuels a combined heat and power engine which produces 200kW of electricity. This equates to 8% of the factory's power with plans to achieve 10% renewable energy use in 2015.
With the AD plant in place, the site tackles around 1,200 tonnes of food waste a year and also converts over 200,000 litres per day of raw material into renewable energy. The site has already been verified for sending zero waste to landfill, three years ahead of target.
Nestlé's Head of Sustainability, Inder Poonaji, says:
“On-site treatment of production waste is helping us to reduce the wider environmental impact of our business and meet our sustainability goals. Waste has a profound impact and we are taking key learning's and action to reduce waste as an organisation.”
Nestlé is committed to eliminating food waste at every level of operations. To help drive this change, the goal was set in the UK of achieving zero waste to landfill from all factories by 2015. In addition, the Fawdon factory has embarked on various initiatives, designed to help protect the planet and its resources for future generations.
The creation of a wildflower meadow has enabled local butterfly species to flourish while electric charging points and the use of solar radiation for renewable energy will help meet the UK target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020.
The AD also has a trick up its sleeve – the ability to process both solid and liquid waste, making it unique among digestion systems.