FROM LOCAL FOOD WASTE TO LOCAL ENERGY TO HELP POWER GWYNEDD
Recycle for Wales and Gwynedd Council partner up to launch a campaign to communicate how food waste could power our communities.
Across Wales, we recycle approximately half of all our food waste, but Recycle for Wales is on a quest to increase recycling levels to 70% by 2025, and meet Welsh Government national targets. Wales is currently the third best recycling nation in the world, but it could be first.
On average, in every waste bin in Wales, 25% of the waste is food that could be recycled and turned into energy to power local homes in Gwynedd.
When Gwynedd residents put their food waste recycling out each week to be collected by the council, it is taken to an ‘Anaerobic Digestion’ processing facility near Caernarfon where it is turned into energy and fed into the National Grid. In 2016 alone, the plant produced enough electricity to power over 1000 homes for the whole year.
The recycled energy could also power our community buildings. 124 recycled banana peels could power one of Pontio’s cinema screen for two hours, enough to watch this weekend’s big new release! And if every resident in Gwynedd recycled one banana peel it could generate enough electricity to power a typical school for almost one and a half days.
Every single household produces food waste which can be recycled- potato peels, egg shells, banana peels, meat bones, tea bags – are just a few of the items that are described as ‘unavoidable food waste’.
This waste, if sent to landfill, produces a dangerous greenhouse gas, methane. If sent to anaerobic digestion, the methane can be harnessed, and it can be turned into electricity.
For instance, 32 recycled banana peels could create enough energy to power a typical family home for an hour. Used tea bags, also great examples of unavoidable food waste that can’t be eaten, can also create electricity – just 22 recycled tea bags create enough energy to power a hoover for 10 minutes – how many cuppas do you make a week?
Steffan Jones, Gwynedd Council’s Senior Waste and Commissioning Manager said: “We know that a lot of people are recycling their food, which is great, but we know that clearly there’s a lot more we can do. Every single thing we recycle can make a big difference to how much energy we can create for our local community, whilst helping Wales become one of the World’s best recycling nations'.
What can I recycle?
You can recycle any food, and all food waste – but no liquids please. Keep an eye out for these unavoidable food waste items as you’re cooking for the whole family:
- Chicken or meat bones;
- Tea bags and coffee grounds;
- Peels from fruit and vegetables;
- Egg shells; and
- Plate scrapings.
For more information, head to our Food Recycling page.