Waste management group Shanks has announced an £8 million deal to build a renewable energy plant which will be capable of powering 3,000 homes using food scraps

By-products from kitchens, supermarkets and food production will be treated at the facility in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

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Shanks said it had signed a joint venture agreement with Scottish-based Energen Biogas for the development.

Planning permission has already been granted and the plant, known as an anaerobic digester, is set to be operational by next summer.

The facility is expected to process 60,000 tonnes of organic waste every year, producing up to 3 megawatt hours of renewable electricity as well as a high quality fertiliser for use on agricultural land.

Anaerobic digestion is the process where plant and animal material is converted into useful products by micro-organisms inside sealed tanks.

As the micro-organisms digest the waste they release methane that can be used to provide heat and power.

This will be Shank’s first facility in the UK, although it already has similar operations in the Netherlands and Canada.

Shanks chief executive Tom Drury said: “This plant will provide producers of organic waste with a cost effective and sustainable alternative to landfill.”

The firm said the project was part of a Scottish Government initiative to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill. It will also help local authorities increase their recycling rates.

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