From Scraps To Crops
Thousands of tonnes of food and garden waste will be kept out of landfill now Derbyshire County Council’s new £6.65 million composting centre is up and running.
The first batches of waste collected from up to 128,000 households by Chesterfield Borough, Bolsover District and North East Derbyshire District councils have arrived at the state-of-the art facility in Arkwright.
And now the waste is being turned into compost to be sold as a soil improver for use in farming and agriculture.
Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “Sending waste to landfill is expensive. The county council is facing budget cuts of £157 million by 2018 and with landfill tax currently set at £80 per tonne, landfill is a cost we just can’t afford in the future.
“This new facility will allow us to manage the cost of dealing with the county’s waste more effectively in the future by helping to protect against further landfill price increases.
“Residents can help by making sure they put as much food and garden waste as possible into their green waste bin ready to be taken to the new site.”
Andrew Ives, regional manager from SITA UK – the recycling and waste management company running the site on behalf of the county council, said: “We’re delighted this project is up and running. It will make life much easier for residents who can now put their food waste in with their garden waste, so it can be put to good use as compost, rather than being landfilled.”
Up to 40,000 tonnes of food and garden waste is expected to be taken to the composting facility every year. It takes around eight to 10 weeks for the waste to be turned into compost at the facility using “in-vessel” technology.
Items including garden trimmings, fruit, vegetable, meat and fish waste are shredded and placed into sealed chambers to be sterilized. Air is forced through the waste to heat it up to 60 degrees centigrade for a minimum of 48 hours to destroy any harmful bacteria which may be present. Once this process is complete, the waste is moved to a second set of chambers where air is forced through the material again to speed up the composting process. Finally, the material is moved to an enclosed ‘maturation’ area where air continues to be passed through it to complete the composting process. The compost is moved into an enclosed processing area where it is screened for quality and then loaded on to vehicles ready to be dispatched.
The facility has brought more jobs to the area with seven full time equivalent posts.