Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 12:57 UK

Kitchen scraps to generate power

Food waste being collected (Pic: EDCC)
Food will be collected from about 12,000 homes for recycling

A scheme to turn food waste into electricity on a mass scale has begun in Devon.

Kitchen leftovers and plastic bottles are being collected from about 12,000 homes in the Axe valley area on a weekly basis.

The waste will then be recycled to produce a gas, generating electricity for the National Grid.

East Devon District Council said it was aiming to recycle 50% of waste in its area by 2010.

The first towns to take part in the scheme are: Axminster, Beer, Colyton, Musbury, Seaton and Uplyme.

The waste food will be mixed with animal slurry
Paul Deakin, waste manager

Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary are expected to follow suit in 2009.

Residents have been provided with special containers to store their crude waste.

The council said the food waste could include meat, fish, bones, vegetables and dairy products, but not liquids.

Once it has been collected from homes it will be taken to the biogas plant at Holsworthy.

There it will be broken down to produce gas in a process known as anaerobic digestion.

Paul Deakin, waste manager for East Devon District Council said: "The waste food will be mixed with animal slurry.

Landfill reduction

"The bacteria in the mixture will then heat itself to 70C and it will go through a digestion process, producing gas."

Mr Deakin said it was impossible to know exactly how much energy the waste from 12,000 homes would generate.

Cllr David Cox from the council said: "We all need to do as much as we can for the environment.

"It's vital that we reduce landfill and increase the number and volume of the materials that we recycle."

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