MITIE and the UK’s third largest airport outside London partnered together in April 2013 to implement a food recycling scheme. The food waste is now being sent to a local anaerobic digestion plant having previously been sent for incineration.

At the plant, the waste is depackaged, sorted and processed to be turned into ground fertiliser, producing electricity in the process. Energy derived from the process supplies over 2,500 local homes and businesses with electricity.

The scheme engages staff in public areas and retail concessions throughout the airport, where the vast majority of food waste is produced in the form of packaged food, leftovers, and out of date stock.

MITIE waste & environmental services business managing director Michael Taylor said: “This achievement demonstrates that MITIE is becoming the industry’s partner of choice for implementing food waste recycling schemes in multi-concession environments.

“The airport and concessions involved have done an excellent job in changing culture and encouraging buy-in from all staff which was crucial in achieving a successful transition.”

Birmingham Airport environment protection manager Dave Peabody added: “This project has astounded all parties in the sheer volume of food waste that can be recycled.

“We initially thought that 40 tonnes per annum would be a good target but MITIE, working in close cooperation with our food retailing partners, nearly doubled those figures during 2013.

“This has allowed further recycling materials to be extracted from our other general waste which are no longer contaminated by food waste. This is a ‘win-win’ situation for the airport and the environment, and I would like to thank MITIE and our food retailers for their efforts.”

Liz Gyekye

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