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SOCIAL MEDIA BRINGS ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORT TO LOCAL HEALTHY LIVING CENTRE

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Jane Cunningham and Carol Gaskarth from PCP

The Pioneering Care Partnership (PCP), a health and wellbeing charity which runs the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe, has found a local waste collection thanks to the power of social media.

Emerald Biogas, which operates the north east’s first commercial food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, promoted its food waste service through the social media micro community ‘AycliffeHour’ on Twitter, which is how PCP first found out about the waste disposal services on offer.

After meeting with the renewable energy company to discuss its requirements, which includes disposal of the food waste from the Centre coffee shop, staff kitchen and nursery, Emerald Biogas is now working together with the charity and collecting all of its food waste to process at its AD plant nearby in Newton Aycliffe.

The Centre, which is packed with services and activities to help people to improve their health and wellbeing, was already recycling its waste where possible, including composting. But only Emerald Biogas offered the collection and processing services, and PCP is now delighted their food isn’t being sent to landfill.

Carol Gaskarth, Chief Executive, PCP, said: “After hearing what Emerald Biogas could do with our food waste and the processes involved we were immediately interested. The idea of turning our food waste into energy was extremely useful, as we are always looking for ways to reduce waste going to landfill. In line with this we want to reduce our impact on the environment, as well as helping any local economy through the energy produced from the waste generated.

“We are currently accredited with the environmental quality standard ISO 14001 and through this system; we have set ourselves ambitious objectives and targets to meet, with reducing waste to landfill being one of those objectives.

“PCP regards environmental performance as an integral part of our business and as such we are committed to maintaining the highest possible environmental standards in every aspect of our operations and working with a local company fits perfectly with this.”

Adam Warren, Director, said: “We regularly engage with online business communities such as ‘CoDurhamHour’, ‘AycliffeHour’ and ‘NorthEastHour’, as they are a great way of making new contacts and potential customers while raising general awareness of the business. Social media is a powerful tool and has been responsible for generating numerous business leads for our business. In this instance, being able to help a local community organisation to dispose of its food waste in a greener way is meaningful to both PCP and to Emerald Biogas and we were more than happy to help.”

Emerald Biogas currently employs seven staff at its £8m state-of-the-art AD facility based at Newton Aycliffe Industrial Estate, generating enough energy to power 2,000 homes through its food waste processing.

The facility serves the north east’s need to recycle food waste and create renewable energy, processing 50,000 tonnes of leftover food from businesses across the region, to many business sectors that produce food including schools, retailers, food manufacturers, hotels and supermarkets.

Formed in 2009, Emerald Biogas is owned by three partners with a wealth of experience in agriculture and recycling. Antony and Adam Warren are the owners of long established food and animal by products recycling business, John Warren ABP. Together with Ian Bainbridge’s diverse farming, land and resource management company, Agricore, they provide the region with a beneficial sustainable resource.

Funding for the Emerald Biogas project was made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.

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