Success for airport food waste recycling scheme

MITIE HAS successfully set up a permanent food waste recycling scheme in partnership with Birmingham Airport.


Over 70 tonnes of food waste has been segregated onsite and recycled, while producing renewable energy off site.


Birmingham Airport, the UK’s third largest airport outside London, saw an opportunity to divert food waste from other waste streams to increase recycling and prevent contamination of recyclable materials.


Over the last ten months the airport has been successful in diverting over 70 tonnes of food waste from traditional disposal routes to a local anaerobic digestion plant. At the plant, the waste is de-packaged, sorted and processed to be turned into ground fertiliser, producing electricity in the process.


Energy derived from the process supplies over 2,500 local homes and businesses with electricity.


The scheme, implemented in partnership with Mitie, applies best practice and efficiency measures in every step of the process such as engaging staff in public areas and retail concessions throughout the airport, where the vast majority of food waste is produced in the form of packaged food, leftovers, and out of date stock.


Birmingham Airport and Mitie implemented the full recycling scheme in April 2013, following a small scale trial period.


Michael Taylor, managing director of Mitie’s waste & environmental services business, commented:


“This achievement demonstrates that Mitie is becoming the industry’s partner of choice for implementing food waste recycling schemes in multi-concession environments.


“The airport and concessions involved have done an excellent job in changing culture and encouraging buy-in from all staff which was crucial in achieving a successful transition.”


Dave Peabody, Environment Protection Manager for Birmingham Airport, said:


“This project has astounded all parties in the sheer volume of food waste that can be recycled. We initially thought that 40 tonnes per annum would be a good target but Mitie, working in close cooperation with our food retailing partners, nearly doubled those figures during 2013.


“This has allowed further recycling materials to be extracted from our other general waste which are no longer contaminated by food waste. This is a ‘win-win’ situation for the airport and the environment, and I would like to thank Mitie and our food retailers for their efforts.”