Vertal complete upgrade of food waste processing plant

Vertal have completed the installation of a new waste classification plant at their Mitcham plant in South London which is significantly reducing the volume of food waste being sent to landfill and allowing for the production of an improved nutrient rich fertiliser product with application in the agricultural market.

The company is involved in the processing of a wide range of food waste from hotels and restaurants, catering companies and supermarkets and have pioneered the efficient treatment of this material to produce fertilisers that are ready to be introduced to land within 72 hours.

The new waste classification plant from CDEnviro is treating material from the Vertal ATAD (Autothermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion) process and in addition to providing an improved fertiliser product has resulted in operational efficiencies as a result of the elimination of blockages from the process, reduced operator intervention and reduced wear on downstream processes.

The G:Max waste classification plant from CDEnviro is introduced following the ATAD treatment phase to maximise recovery of organic material and effectively remove plastics and other inert materials. Both of these combine to ensure a higher quality fertiliser product with increased application within the agricultural market.

One of the keys to success for Vertal has been the ability to accept material in its original packaging which removes the requirement for it to be pre-sorted before processing. The presence of the pre-shredder and macerator within the Vertal plant allows for the shredding of all packaging which is then removed at a later stage in processing.

In the production of the high quality fertilisers that Vertal produce it is essential that the shredded packaging is effectively removed from the organics following the ATAD phase and it was inefficiencies in this process that prompted Vertal to specifiy the G:Max plant from CDEnviro.

"The new plant has allowed to us efficiently separate the organics and inert material allowing for the production of an improved fertiliser product" explains Leon Mekitarian, Director of Vertal. "Our final fertiliser product is produced in accordance with standards for composting materials which is something that we were previously unable to consistently achieve. This greatly increases the potential for widespread application of our fertiliser product."

The G:Max waste classification plant accepts material from the ATAD process onto one side of a split polyurethane screen where the +4mm plastics and other inert materials are removed and discharged to a stockpile. The -4mm organic material is collected in a sump and pumped through the integrated hydrocyclone.

This stage of processing separates the larger organic particles from the very fine particles. The larger organic particles are discharged from the hydrocyclone onto the second side of the split screen while the overflow from the cyclone containing the waste water and the fine organic material is sent to the final dewatering stage of the process.

The larger organic particles are dewatered and discharged to a stockpile and this material is subsequently mixed with the dewatered fine organic particles from the centrifuge to form the nutrient rich fertiliser product.

The new classification plant has eliminated blockages from the process which has ensured that in addition to the improved quality of the final product Vertal has enjoyed significant efficiency improvements.

"The G:Max plant has replaced a spiral screen and this was continually blocking due to the presence of plastics in the feed material" explains Leon Mekitarian.

"This provided significant interruptions to our production and also required considerable operator intervention to clear the blockages. All of this added to our costs of production and the G:Max system in eliminating these blockages has made the process much more efficient."

Prior to the installation of the G:Max system the material being sent to the centrifuge was causing considerable wear largely due to the presence of bone within the material. With the new G:Max plant removing this material during primary screening it is now not reaching the centrifuge which has reduced wear and subsequently reduced the costs of operating the plant.

This latest development of the Vertal process provides evidence of how the processes applied within the waste water treatment sector can be adapted and applied to the specific requirements of the food waste recycling sector with great success. "Food waste processing obviously presents its own unique challenges but the principles are very similar when we look at the processing of waste materials in the waste water treatment sector" says Leon Mekitarian.

"Our success to date has been built on the successful application of proven waste water treatment technologies to food waste recycling and this latest development is evidence of our commitment to continually developing our process to maximise both the efficiency of the process and the quality of the final product."

The G:Max system has previously been applied throughout the waste water treatment sector in the UK for the processing of a wide range of waste streams including digester and wet well waste, reed bed recycling and waste from drain cleaning, lagoon and pond emptying services. "The proven capability of the G:Max to bring increased efficiencies and improved final product quality to the food waste processing sector is extremely significant" says Darren Eastwood, Technical Sales Manager for CDEnviro in southern of England.

According to WRAP the vast majority of the 18m tonnes of food waste generated in the UK every year is still being sent to landfill. This causes the production of large volumes of greenhouse gases - the Cabinet Office estimates this to be 18m tonnes per year and believes that the effect of eliminating household food waste alone would be to take one in five cars off the UK roads.

Presented with these figures it is difficult to overestimate the importance of developing new systems and processes for the effective processing of food waste. What we can see with Vertal is a company who not only offer a real solution to the food waste problem but can also provide a highly nutrient rich fertiliser product which has the added benefit of promoting further food growth thus tackling the much discussed issue of global food shortages that will become a reality in the years to come.

"Our process is more natural and efficient than other food waste technologies" concludes Leon Mekitarian. "By creating a high energy fertiliser without relying on burning fuel to do so, our process reduces consumption of precious oil reserves and increases global food production."

Further information on the processes employed by Vertal and the range of waste materials they can accept is available from and you can also find further information on the range of waste classification and recycling products offered by CDEnviro at

For further information please email CDEnviro

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