Uni on course to recycle 60 tonnes of food waste

60 tonnes of food waste from the University of Liverpool could be recycled by the end of the academic year and converted into renewable energy. Tony McDonough reports

University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool has employed Keenan Recycling to reduce its emissions


A drive by the University of Liverpool to reduce its carbon footprint is on course to see 60 tonnes of food waste converted into renewable energy by the end of the academic year.

Since the beginning of the year the university has been working with UK food waste recycling company Keenan Recycling. From the beginning of the academic year in late 2023 to the end of January the company had collected 24 tonnes of food waste.

This has all gone to anaerobic digestion (AD) plants and converted into renewable energy. If the 60-tonne milestone is reached the energy generated will be equivalent to 5,250 students being able to fully charge their phones or power 320 televisions for a full year.

Keenan is also in the process of replacing its transport fleet with eco-friendly trucks powered by compressed biomethane. This will further reduce the university’s scope three (indirect) emissions later in 2024.

University of Liverpool’s waste and recycling officer for facilities, residential, and commercial services, Sam Hay, said: “We averaged 1,354 tonnes per year of general waste between 2009 and 2019, a total which was reduced to 910 tonnes in 2022/2023.

“The objective for 2025 is 677 tonnes, which would see a reduction of 50% from the 10-year average. Across the calendar year the total food waste that can be recycled could be 60 tonnes and that is a huge positive for our waste reduction targets.”

Keenan Recycling, which was engaged via the TUCO framework, worked closely with the university to have more than 900 food caddies and 55 external bins put in place across 12 locations as students arrived on campus at the start of September.

Sam continued: “It was a tight timetable, but together we managed to have it all set up, and the students could begin recycling their food waste from day one, which was important.

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“As we continue to segregate our food waste, our general waste will reduce and that will also have an impact when it comes to expense.

“Emission data is also available, so we can track our carbon savings compared to the traditional disposal route of incineration with energy recovery.”

Keenan director Claire Keenan added: “We are thrilled to be playing such a crucial role. We pride ourselves on our service, so to hear about the positive impact that our activity is having on the daily operations in Liverpool is wonderful.”

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