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Edinburgh City Council Midlothian

Food Waste Procurement Begins

07 February 2011

The process of identifying the contractor who will deliver facilities to treat 20,000 tonnes of food waste collected by Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils is now under way.
A notice has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) announcing that Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian are seeking to procure anaerobic digestion facilities to treat food waste.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) recovers value from food and similar biodegradable waste through a contained and carefully controlled composting process. It produces a biogas which can be used to generate renewable energy and 'digestate' which can be used as soil improver or fertiliser.
The procurement of the AD facility marks a significant step towards a zero waste future. At the moment the majority of food waste collected in the area is sent to landfill. This is not a sustainable practice as it contributes to climate change and is a waste of a valuable resource.
The facility will enable both Councils to meet the requirements of the Scotland's Zero Waste Plan regarding landfill bans on source-segregated food waste and recyclables that are expected to come into force in 2015. It is expected that the AD contract will be awarded by the end of 2012 and that the facilities would be operational in advance of 2015.
A separate procurement process for additional residual (mixed) waste treatment facilities is likely to commence later in the year in order to be ready in time for a proposed ban on the disposal of biodegradable waste to landfill, planned to be introduced in 2017.
For full details of the OJEU notice please click here:

Notes to editors:
All public sector contracts above a certain threshold must be published in the OJEU.
20,000 tonnes is the quantity of uneaten food and food scraps expected to be collected by the Councils each year.
When food waste is buried in a landfill site it produces methane, a greenhouse gas over 20 times more powerful at heating the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. It's now widely accepted that these are the main gases that contribute to climate change.
A preferred site for the facilities has been purchased by the Councils near Millerhill in Midlothian. An application for planning permission in principle for this site, including permission for a 30,000 tonne per year AD facility will be submitted by the spring of 2011.
Alternative locations will be considered if they can be shown to offer better value for money but it is envisaged that the Millerhill site would still be the transfer point for all the food waste.