The installation of an anaerobic digester at Nestlé UK & Ireland’s Tyneside factory, which turns waste from sweets into energy, is just one example of the UK’s increased use of biogas.
Working to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and environmental impact, management at the Tyneside factory turned to the Berkshire-based renewables firm Clearfleau to build a bespoke system for its Fawdon plant, The Journal has reported.
Exactly a year on, the technology is converting four tonnes of solid waste and 200,000 litres of liquid waste into renewable energy and clean water each day.
The biogas produced fuels a combined heat and power engine, creating 200kW of electricity - the equivalent of about 8% of the site’s energy needs.
The system has also significantly improved the quality of the water discharged, with the equivalent of 41 Olympic-size swimming pools of clean water having been released from the site in the past year.
Greenhouse gas emissions have also improved, falling by approximately 10%.
The move forms part of a company-wide drive by Nestlé UK & Ireland - a subsidiary of Nestlé SA - to keep environmental impact to a minimum.
It was planned that by 2015, 10% of its factories would be sending no waste for disposal at all.
The business, however, achieved this target two years early in 2013 and now Nestlé is guaranteeing that by 2020, none of its 150 factories will send waste to landfill.
Home to famous brands such as Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Caramac, the factory in Fawdon first turns sweet waste into a ‘chocolate soup’, which is then fed into the digester, an airtight tank, where bacteria decomposes the material and converts it into by-products such as the renewable energy, biogas.
Nestlé UK & Ireland employs 8,000 people across 20 sites and produces some of Britain’s best known brands.
It is also one of the biggest exporters in the food industry, selling more than £350m worth of products every year to over 70 countries around the world.