Write-up by Elizabeth Lambert:
Situated close to the motorway network, the facility takes food waste from North Lanarkshire, Glasgow City and Stirling council. The original composting plant was built in 2005 on the 12 acre site of a decommissioned sewage treatment works -Cumbernauld Sewage Purification Works, which had been redundant since 2002.
It was initially used to turn garden waste into compost, primarily converting local authority collections into environmentally friendly ‘pod’ compost. The facility benefited from a £1.7million grant from Zero Waste Scotland.
In 2010 an anaerobic digestion tank capable of turning 30,000 tonnes of solid and liquid food waste into around 8,000 megawatts of power each year (enough electricity to power up to 2,000 homes) was completed.
The Deerdykes facility, created by Scottish Water Horizons, the public utility’s commercial and renewable energy business, is the largest organic recycling facility in Scotland and the first site in the UK to combine anaerobic digestion and in-vessel composting.
This means that not only is more waste efficiently recycled, away from landfill, but that the Deerdykes plant is self-sufficient in energy. The anaerobic digestion process breaks down the waste to produce biogas which can then be used to provide electricity to power the works itself.
The process also creates nutrient rich digestate which can be used as a fertiliser to improve the Scotland’s soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilisers whose manufacture has a significant environmental impact, helping Scotland towards zero waste.