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Cardiff to become the UK’s best recycling city

A new plant to convert food waste into energy has just opened in East Cardiff, with the potential to power 4,000 homes.

A new plant designed to burn food waste to produce energy has opened in Tremorfa. It is being co-run with the waste management company Kelda, and will serve the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan councils, with the aim to recycle 97% of food waste from both areas.

The site of the new food waste plant in Tremorfa.

“We are now the highest recycling core city in the UK,” said Councillor Bob Derbyshire, who officially opened the plant. “Food waste is the most important waste type to divert from landfill sites.”

The plant uses anaerobic digestion to break down the food, which creates energy, and consequently electricity. This is part of the council’s aim to reduce waste in the city by 2050. This involves the reducing the amount of waste that is landfilled, and increasing the amount of recycled waste.

With this new plant, incineration with energy recovery is an increasingly important method. By burning the waste and retaining the energy, electricity can be produced, and the waste removed.

Cardiff hopes to be a ‘Zero Waste City’ by 2050.

The plant will generate enough energy from recycled food waste to power 4,000 homes in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan per year. It will also produce 26,000 tons of soil fertilizer and conditioner, which will benefit farming around the Cardiff area.

Cllr Bob Derbyshire said, “The City Council’s recycling rate has increased from just over 19% in 2006/7 to about 60% this year, so we have already transformed the way that we manage our waste.”

Companies in Cardiff are also doing their bit to reduce food waste. Sainsbury’s, on Colchester Avenue, recycle all of their food waste. Sainsbury’s Café manager Jenny Rowe said, “All the food waste gets separated and put into red bags. These then get frozen and taken to create energy.”

Sainsbury’s have been involved in a number of campaigns to reduce food waste. See more here.

As the council has plans to significantly reduce all waste in the city, it will require efforts from local businesses as well as Cardiff residents.

The Tremorfa plant is only being used for household waste at this time, but aims to efficiently recycle all waste that it receives.

Managing director of Kelda Pamela Doherty said, “[We] have worked closely with our partners at Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Councils to ensure that this facility met their ambitious expectations.”