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Anaerobic Digestion: How It Works and Why It’s So Good for Food Waste Recycling

Did you know?

Anaerobic actually means ‘in the absence of oxygen’.

You hear this phrase ‘anaerobic digestion’ talked about quite often when it comes to food waste recycling…

But what does it mean to be ‘in the absence of oxygen’?

What exactly is anaerobic digestion?

And perhaps more importantly, why is it such a good way to recycle food waste?

In case you’ve wondered yourself, we thought it would be useful to quickly go over the process right here.


It’s simpler than you think

Though the phrase anaerobic digestion might sound like it describes a very complicated process…

In many ways, it just does what it says on the tin.

Very simply…

Food waste is broken down with bacteria (digested) in a vacuum-sealed container that contains no oxygen (i.e. it’s anaerobic).

The process is quite simple too.

At least, it is when you have the right technology available to you, as we do at our Bioganix plant in North Lincolnshire.

As we pointed out before, anaerobic means ‘in the absence of oxygen’ and that’s how the process of breaking down food waste into renewable energy takes place…

Once the food waste has been appropriately separated from any packaging, the organic material is fed into a vacuum-sealed container and bacteria is introduced to breakdown the matter.

Because there is no oxygen, as the bacteria breakdown the food waste, biogas is produced.

The biogas is mostly made up of methane, which is also the main component of natural gas.

Any non-methane components of the biogas are filtered and removed, so the remaining methane can be used as an energy source.

The other great thing about anaerobic digestion is what’s left of the food waste itself can often be further treated and then used as a biofertilizer.

Having already been pasteurized to kill any pathogens that might be in the waste at the beginning of the process, it’s stored for use at a later time.

So, not only does the process create biogas that can be used to create renewable energy…

You also get a second green benefit of additional fossil fuel-replacing fertilizer.

Every Tonne Counts

Here’s the key calculation in this whole process…

For roughly every tonne of food waste processed using anaerobic digestion as opposed to being placed in landfill…

You prevent between 0.5 and 1 tonne of CO2 entering the atmosphere.

That’s pretty significant.

So, you can start to see why it’s such a good way to recycle your food waste.

It’s extremely good for the environment and there’s no wonder the government recognise it as one of the best ways to recycle food waste.

In fact, it’s supported by the National Farmers Union and Friends of the Earth too.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you could recycle your food waste using anaerobic digestion, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Bioganix.

We can chat over the phone about your particular needs and if you’d like to…we can organise an initial site visit too.

This way we can learn more about the general waste challenges you face and offer specific advice on how we can help you overcome them.

It won’t cost you a penny for us to come and visit you and you’re under no obligation to work with us if we do.

So, don’t hesitate to get in touch…

You can reach us on 01652 637803 or email at and we’ll take it from there.

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