Nestle’s Fawdon-based confectionary factory has installed a 200 kW power generation unit that converts leftover chocolates and residual raw material used for making confectionaries into electricity. The unit is based on anaerobic digestion that generates methane gas from decomposition of waste products.
The digester and electricity generation unit have been installed by Clearfleau, a company that manufactures “plants that treat effluents and co-products from dairy processing, food manufacturing, drinks, bio-fuels and other industry sectors.” The unit has been installed through financial assistance from the Waste & Resources Action Programme initiated by the government to promote anaerobic digestion.
The plant uses residual starch, unsold or rejected chocolates, and other confectionaries in order to produce methane post decomposition and generate electricity. It converts about 200,000 litres of feedstock and 1,200 tonnes of residues per day. The power generation unit produces enough electricity to supply about 8% of the factory’s total power requirement, which, in turn, saves about £100,000 every year.
Nestle has created a detailed programme to address climate change, greenhouse emissions, and water and waste management. The company plans to cut its emissions from UK operations by 40% between 2006 and 2020.
The company has implemented several measures to improve water efficiency at its facilities and has managed to cut water consumption by 38% since 2006. In 2012, the company invested £475,000 to improve sustainability at Girvan and Fawdon factories. The company has also contributed towards implementing adaptation measures for the local community. In 2012, it committed £1.65 million to help the Environment Agency and local partners develop a flood defence system for the lower reaches of the River Dove in South Derbyshire.
The company now uses packaging material that has 92% recyclability and aims to increase it to 95% by next year. Several of the factories have achieved a “zero production waste to landfill” target. Additionally, the company donates surplus, fit-for-consumption food to homeless and disadvantaged or vulnerable people.