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The UK’s leading food waste recycler, ReFood, has revealed what the expansion of its Widnes plant will mean for the region’s recycling capability. The site, which was inaugurated in 2014, will be expanding by 33% with the construction of a new Anaerobic Digester (AD) tank. Once complete, the site, which accepts food waste from across the North West, will be capable of processing 160,000tonnes of food waste a year – making it one of the highest capacity AD plants in Europe.

Every year, the UK produces around 15m tonnes of food waste according to official figures, with around half of that coming from households and the remainder, businesses and other organisations. Unavoidable food waste should be treated as a resource, as it can be recycled into energy and biofertiliser, helping to close the loop on the food supply-chain.

Construction of a new 3,500 digester tank at Widnes will substantially increase food waste recycling capability in the area, with the major towns and cities of the North West set to reap the benefits. Sending food-waste to landfill can cost businesses and councils substantially more than having it recycled into energy. Typically, costs can be 46% higher.

Richard Poskitt, Commercial Manager at ReFood said: “This expansion represents a serious investment in the recycling capacity of the North West. To put things into perspective, once these works are complete, the site will have the capacity to handle all of Liverpool’s municipal food waste, whilst generating green energy for local users. Our presence in Widnes amounts to a £30m investment into the region, and our expansion will bring more jobs, both during construction and in the long-term.”

The Widnes plant is conveniently situated between the major cities of Liverpool and Manchester, just 15 miles away from the iconic Royal Liver Building. The site will be able to accept food waste from both council collections, and businesses, and ReFood’s advanced technology allows for the removal of packaging prior to recycling. The by-product from the process is turned into a high-quality fertiliser, for use by local farmers, thus completing the loop on the food supply-chain. The expansion works commenced in September and it is on a 22 week build program. The expansion will not affect the site’s current capacity during the construction process.

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