Scottish council recycle food waste to generate renewable energy

10 May 2022

Article: 56/1813

East Dunbartonshire Council has committed to continue sending waste to Scottish Water Horizons’ Deerdykes Bioresources Centre near Cumbernauld, where it undergoes anaerobic digestion, a process which uses bacteria to break down organic matter. 

While a less sustainable alternative is to use comingled waste, that is, mixing food and garden rubbish, which goes to composting, this does generate greenhouse gases, including methane, which are harmful to the environment. Sending waste to a food waste recycling facility which uses anaerobic digestion avoids this issue whilst generating sustainable energy. 

In the previous year, East Dunbartonshire sent 3000 tonnes of food waste for processing, which is the equivalent of more than a quarter of a million weekly food shops, reducing 1,850 tonnes of carbon. 

Scottish Water Horizons and East Dunbartonshire Council have joined forces on the back of the contract renewal to help drive positive behaviours in recycling food waste. Whilst food waste should be avoided, if possible, the teams involved are keen to raise awareness of the benefits of properly segregating and recycling waste. 

The Deerdykes Bioresources Centre in North Lanarkshire has generated more than 50 GWh of green electricity, the equivalent of powering 13,500 homes for a year, since it opened in 2010. The facility harnesses gas from food waste using anaerobic digestion to generate green energy using a combined heat and power engine (CHP). 

Source: Scottish Water, 4 May 2022