We have installed, in collaboration with Agriorganics, the first In Vessel Food Waste Composting Facility in Cumbria providing a much needed outlet for the composting of food waste. We also have the capability to compost Organic Fines produced from Mechanical & Biological Treatment plants processing Non Source Segregated material. The capacity of the facility is 40,000t but we could potentially double this going forward as we have the current infrastructure to do so. We are actively seeking organic fines from MBT process coded as 19 12 12.
The process – Stage 1
The food waste, which comes either separate or already mixed with garden waste, as well as commercial and industrial sources, is delivered to our enclosed reception area.
It is then shredded to a uniform size and loaded into what is known as the first ‘barrier’, which is basically a tunnel. All the material delivered to a facility, plus the first barrier stage, is considered a ‘dirty area’ under ABPR. The regulations ensure that strict procedures are in place to prevent cross-contamination of ‘clean areas’ (where product is processed and stored) from ‘dirty areas’.
The composting process is kick-started by naturally occurring micro-organisms already in the waste. They break down the material, releasing the nutrients and in doing so increase the temperature to the 60-70ºC needed to kill pathogens and weed seeds, and meet the regulations for processing ABP material.
The process – Stage 2
After the first stage (which can take between seven days and three weeks), the material is transferred to the second ‘barrier’, where the composting process continues, usually for a similar duration.
Processing in 2 stages ensures that all parts of the composting mass reaches the required temperature. The oxygen level, moisture and temperature are carefully monitored and controlled during both composting stages to ensure the material is fully sanitised.
We have the ability to vary the fan speeds to control the supply of oxygen throughout the composting process. The whole process is computer controlled and fully tracable.
The process – Stage 3
Once the sanitization process is complete the compost is left to mature in an open windrow or an enclosed area for approximately 10-14 weeks to ensure stabilisation.