Food waste

Millions of tonnes of waste food from households, supermarkets and restaurants is thrown away in the UK every year, a largeproportion of which ends up going to landfill or travelling miles to treatment facilities. Rather than letting this food waste go to waste, Severn Trent is capturing it locally and using it to generate green renewable energy to help reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste.

In January 2015 we opened the first of our network of dedicated food waste recycling anaerobic digestion centres at our Coleshill sewage works. This state-of-the-art centre receives food waste from both local waste producers, local authorities and waste service providers and converts it into clean, renewable energy and biofertiliser. 

With the ability to recycle over 48,500 tonnes of packaged, loose and liquid food waste every year, the centre produces an impressive 2.4MWh of electricity per hour. That’s enough to power both the centre and the adjoining sewage works, with the excess renewable electricity sold back to the National Grid. In total, 18,000MWh of green energy is produced yearly, which is enough to power 4,500 homes. While the high quality biofertiliser produced during the digestion process is used on local farmland.

Turning waste into green power

worker in a factory

Food waste is delivered to our anaerobic digestion centre where it's weighed on arrival, unloaded, unpackaged, screened, fed to the digesters and pasteurised. It’s then transformed into green electricity and a nutrient-rich biofertiliser.

Operating anaerobic digestion centres isn’t anything new to Severn Trent. We’ve been using them for decades, using a proven process where bacteria breaks down the organic food waste material in an oxygen-free atmosphere to produce biogas. Once the process has begun the food waste spends up to three months in digestion, which maximises the generation of biogas and ensures that the plant consistently produces a nutrient-rich biofertilizer that’s returned to land in place of more harmful fossil fuel derived fertilisers.

Types of food waste

Our food waste centres provide a compliant, cost-effective and sustainable alternative to sending food waste to landfill or treatment plants outside of our region. This is particularly useful for food and beverage processors, local authorities, hospitals, schools, universities, the hospitality and catering sector, food retailers and waste management companies.

We also have an Environment Agency permit to receive and recycle a wide range of solid and liquid food waste materials, including category 3 animal by-product wastes. We’re able to recycle:

  • Food manufacturing by-products
  • Beverage and brewery processing effluents
  • Household food waste
  • Retailer food waste
  • Catering and hospitality waste
  • Meat processing wastes

See the difference we’re making first-hand

Our Coleshill food waste recycling centre is just the first of many we plan to build across our region by 2020. Our second food waste recycling centre will be located at Roundhill, Stourbridge and will be operational in January 2017.

The site is located at:

Severn Trent Food Recycling Centre,
Coleshill Sewage Works,
Marconi Way,
Off Edison Road,
Hams Hall Distribution Park,
Coleshill B46 1DA

Want to know more about our food waste centres?

Call us on 01675 466 220 or send us an email.