Farmers using new fertiliser from commercial waste
As a country, Britain produces over 290 million tonnes of waste each year, despite government pleas to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can. This number is so staggering that some enterprising people have turned to new ways in which we can reuse our refuse, to benefit as many people as possible as well as saving our environment.
One scheme for commercial waste being used now in the North East is organic waste being made into a new fertiliser. Farmers are now being encouraged to use this new fertiliser which is high in nutrients and can be very beneficial to crops and the land. This new organic fertiliser is just as competitive as those chemical and natural products already available on the market, with the added bonus of being good for the environment, and being made from a sustainable resource.
The fertiliser is composed of waste such as food, which has been broken down by the process of anaerobic digestion. No oxygen is used in this process, which means that the gas methane is produced, leaving behind minerals and organic materials, which is what goes on to become the fertiliser. It contains magnesium, sulphur, nitrogen, phosphate and potash which are all essential for enhancing the quality of the soil on farming land. The process turns nitrogen into ammonium nitrate, which is more easily absorbed by plants and crops, and reducing the amount of nitrogen being released into the atmosphere.
Once such anaerobic digestion plant is located in Newton Aycliffe in Co Durham, and is run by the Emerald Biogas company. They have been working together along with local farmers to get the fertiliser used on the land, with considerable success. This is the first kind of facility in the area, and they aim to be as advantageous to the local community as possible.
The facility in Newton Aycliffe, which cost £8million, aims to recycle 50,000 tonnes of food waste each year from across the North East, creating enough energy to supply over 2,000 homes as well as producing the organic fertiliser – not bad for something we’ve just been throwing away! Small beer compared to the national 290m tonne national rubbish heap – but it’s a start!
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