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Environment Secretary Visits NE Recycling Site

Environment Secretary at Keenan Recycling's Vertical Composting Unit

A £1.3million expansion at a North-east organic recycling company is being officially launched by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment this morning (Monday, 26 September 2011).

Richard Lochhead MSP, will visit Keenan Recycling at New Deer in Aberdeenshire to tour the facility, which is now the largest VCU (Vertical Composting Unit) site in Europe and joint largest in the world with a site in Canada following the recent expansion.

The business, managed by brothers Grant and Gregor Keenan, transforms food and garden waste into British Standard Industry (BSI) accredited compost at the award-winning £5m facility.

Keenan Recycling secured a percentage of funding for the expansion from the Scottish Government to further develop the facility as part of the Zero Waste Plan, which sets out targets to tackle the near 20million tonnes of waste produced in Scotland every year. The government plans to introduce legislation requiring mandatory food waste collections by 2013.

The site previously hosted twelve VCU’s, but the expansion has seen the addition of a further six, enabling Keenan Recycling to process an extra 15,000 tonnes of waste per year.

The firm currently processes in excess of 70,000 tonnes of organic waste per year, 30,000 of which is processed through the VCU’s.

Launched in 2001, the company recycles both food and garden waste from Aberdeen City Council and Moray Council and currently only garden waste from Aberdeenshire Council.

In addition to working with local authorities, the company operates a commercial food waste collection service to help local businesses increase their recycling rates. The scheme, which was the first of its kind in the North-East, allows organisations to recycle item such as leftover food, coffee grounds, cups and paper towels.

The collection service was launched by First Minister Alex Salmond last year and nearly 200 private sector business customers are now using the service.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“After the recent expansion, Keenan Recycling has firmly placed itself at the forefront of modern waste management – where waste is a resource, something of value, rather than a problem. A zero waste Scotland offers significant economic and environmental opportunities, and having Europe’s largest vertical composting unit (VCU) – joint largest in the world – on our doorstep is proof of that.

Scottish households throw out 570,000 tonnes of food a year, and we want to help local authorities collect this waste effectively through our £4million food waste programme. Of course, preventing food waste in the first place is the best action – the average household throws out a staggering £430 of edible food every year. Tackling wasteful behaviour is something we can all do to help Scotland’s zero waste efforts.”

Managing Director of Keenan Recycling, Grant Keenan, said:

“The support from Zero Waste Scotland has been critical in the development of our business both in terms of scale and timing. The company has been able to develop more rapidly, increase capacity and provide a sustainable outlet for three local authorities and numerous businesses. In 2012/13 we are looking to expand our services into other areas including Inverness and Dundee.”

The compost we produce is a valuable commodity to local agriculture with approximately 95% of total production going to local farms to be used as a supplement to chemical fertiliser. Not only are farmers enhancing their soils in a sustainable manner but they are beginning to insulate themselves from rising chemical fertiliser prices.”

Zero Waste Scotland provided £482,000 to help fund Keenan Recycling’s site expansion, a second food waste collection lorry and additional processing equipment.

Louise McGregor, Zero Waste Scotland’s Head of Market Development, said:

“Keenan Recycling is an entrepreneurial Scottish business working to benefit councils, private businesses and farmers through in-vessel composting of food and garden waste. Instead of these natural resources going to landfill, where they emit harmful greenhouse gases, they are captured and transformed into a rich compost fertiliser, a product which is then sold back to local farmers at competitive rates.

With support from Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government, the recent extension of the composting facility, along with the new collections vehicle and processing equipment, mean that Keenan Recycling can continue to develop their business in the local community, creating jobs and contributing to the rural economy of Aberdeenshire.”

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