Page last updated at 00:43 GMT, Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas sprouts used for power

By Laura Pettigrew
Lanarkshire reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Brussel sprouts
Many people try to avoid their annual festive serving of sprouts

Fussy festive foodies who refuse to eat their Christmas day helping of Brussel sprouts could soon be doing their bit to help the environment.

A recycling facility in Cumbernauld plans to turn leftover sprouts into green compost and electricity to power homes and businesses.

Food recycling trials will get under way at the Scottish Water-run Deerdykes Organics plant in the new year.

Environmentalists have welcomed the unique use of uneaten festive sprouts.

The project involves kitchen scraps, including sprouts, being stored in vast tunnels where friendly bacteria breaks down the matter into an environmental compost, known as Pod.

The compost will then be used in domestic gardens, at Glasgow's Botanic Gardens and at Dirleton Castle, home to the world's longest herbaceous border.

It will also be used in the creation of Scotland's first new town in 50 years at Polkemmet in West Lothian.

If you're the kind of person who simply pushes them to the side of the plate then you could shortly be doing the environment a favour
Donald MacBrayne
Scottish Water

Eventually, the plan is burn the gases produced during the recycling process to produce electricity.

Business development manager at Scottish Water, Donald MacBrayne, was enthusiastic about the benefit leftover sprouts could deliver.

He said: "Either love them or hate them, there's no avoiding sprouts at this time of the year.

"If you're the kind of person who simply pushes them to the side of the plate then you could shortly be doing the environment a favour.

"Our facility will soon accept food waste, so scraps from next year's Christmas dinner plates will be transformed into Pod."

'Welcome side-effect'

He added: ""Going forward we will harness the gases produced and burn them to create electricity.

"This will initially used at the Deerdykes facility, but in the long term could be used to power the neighbouring industrial estate and even sold back to the national grid.

"So those seasonal sprouts could have a welcome side effect after all."

Christmas tree
Old Christmas trees will alos be turned into compost at Deerdykes

Environment campaigners have thrown their support behind the food recycling project.

Dr Dan Barlow, director of WWF Scotland, said: "Currently far too much food waste ends up in landfill.

"Anaerobic digestion can play an important role in cutting back the volume of organic waste we dispose of in this manner and enable the recovery of energy at the same time."

Chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, Duncan McLaren, added: "This is an example of a big company taking a sound initiative to help address the twin problems of climate change and excessive organic waste being sent to landfill."

The Deerdykes recycling plant will also be transforming discarded Christmas trees into Pod compost.

Firs collected in January by local authorities in North Lanarkshire, Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute will be brought to the Cumbernauld facility for recycling.

Green MSP, Patrick Harvie, said: "Deerdykes is one of Scotland's most innovative recycling facilities, and I'm delighted to see it'll now be composting old Christmas trees from across the west of Scotland.

"Having a good time and doing the right thing by the environment shouldn't ever get in the way of each other, and Christmas time is no exception."

Print Sponsor

Food fans enjoy sprout festival
14 Nov 08 |  Hereford/Worcs

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific