International waste management business Shanks Group plc has signed a purchase agreement with Marks & Spencer (M&S) to supply the retailer with the total renewable energy output of its anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Cumbernauld, Glasgow – a joint-venture with Energen Biogas.
M&S sends food waste to the 60ktpa AD plant, where it is converted into biogas for renewable energy generation and digestate for use as a nutrient-rich soil conditioner. The new agreement will see M&S directly purchase approximately 19,000 MWh per year of electricity from the AD plant* – the equivalent energy used to power 33 M&S Simply Food stores – and helping to close the loop for its food waste.
“Having advocated the use of AD technology since the launch of our sustainability programme, Plan A, back in 2007, we’re now seeing in practice how the plant at Cumbernauld is helping M&S to maintain two of our targets: to procure 100% renewable electricity and send zero waste to landfill,” said Giacinto Patellaro, head of energy supply & risk at M&S, in a statement to media.
Shanks is currently strengthening its market position in organics, where it has over one million tonnes of treatment capacity across Europe. In addition to opening the Cumbernauld AD plant in October 2011, the company is building a 48ktpa AD plant in Bicester, Oxfordshire and has submitted a planning application to Torfaen County Borough Council to build a 90ktpa AD plant at its South Wales site in Pontypool.
Other brands benefitting from Shanks’ sustainable waste management solutions include Unilever and Albert Heijn, the market leading supermarket in the Netherlands, whose organic waste is treated at Shanks’ Greenmills AD plant, near Amsterdam, the largest of its type in Europe.
“[M&S]…have a firm commitment to sustainable waste management and utilising green energy and this agreement will take full advantage of our state-of-the-art AD plant in Cumbernauld,” said Ian Goodfellow, UK managing director at Shanks, in a statement to media. “Not only does this reinforce our strategy to make more from waste, it also reflects Shanks’ strong and growing presence in organics recycling and recovery.”