Food and drink waste including goffee grinds, potato peelings, egg shells and chicken bones – all by-products from catering to Heathrow’s 180,000 passengers a day – will be collected separately in cafes and restaurants, and sent to Vertal’s recycling facility in Mitcham, South London.

Here it will be treated using new technology that harnesses the natural heat released by composting to pasteurise food waste under its own steam.

In just 72 hours, waste from all five terminals will be transformed into nutrient-rich fertiliser, for use on local farms.

In the first year, Heathrow will save CO2 equal to around half a million air miles.

BAA’s waste manager at Heathrow, Nathan Gray, said: “Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport, and we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. Recycling is a key part of that.

“We’ve already raised levels to 50% this year, and we’ve committed to a target of 70% by 2020. Introducing food waste recycling is helping us to achieve that.”

Vertal’s founder and managing director, Leon Mekitarian, said:”Recycling food waste locally with Vertal is a highly effective way for organisations to offset carbon.

“Our accelerated composting technology is significantly more carbon positive than any other process.

“And as the market matures and new legislation comes on stream, that’s becoming a very important business factor.

“We can really help companies of all sizes drive down the cost of waste management, and capitalise on the benefits.”

Luke Walsh

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