FOOD waste streams should be utilised to reduce their impact on the environment, in order to help the region meet its net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, that’s according to Chris Fillis, Operations Director at Northern Ireland’s leading waste and resource management company, RiverRidge.

The call comes following the publication of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) advice report on ‘The Path to a Net Zero Northern Ireland’ last week, which highlighted that the current pathway falls short of the ambitious target of reaching net zero by 2050.

With the launch of this year’s Food Waste Action Week, running from 6th to 12th March, RiverRidge is highlighting the high value that is contained within food waste when diverted from landfill and the subsequent reduction of methane – the gas that is emitted when food waste is breaking down after being sent to landfill.

RiverRidge has recently developed a process to extract the organic waste from the waste streams that it collects and convert it into green energy, which will subsequently be used to fuel and decarbonise 75% of the company’s fleet by 2030.

This week also celebrates Decarbonising Transport Week, which aims to highlight the importance of meeting net zero targets and how decarbonising transport is key to achieving this. This is something that RiverRidge is passionate about given that one of the major contributors of carbon footprint associated with the waste management sector in the region is transport.

Last year the company took delivery of its first renewable biogas lorry, which is fuelled entirely by the food waste that it collects, and the first of three renewable biogas articulated lorries that have been purchased.

Chris Fillis, Operations Director at RiverRidge commented; “It’s disappointing to hear that Northern Ireland is falling short of the 2050 target, but businesses and consumers throughout the region need to take action if it is to meet these targets. Utilising the food waste streams combined with decarbonising transport vehicles is the first step in the right direction as we try to counteract the environmental impacts on climate change.

“At RiverRidge we have invested both time and finance in researching and developing innovative ways in that we can use food waste to help reduce our carbon footprint. It is of paramount importance that we all play our part in helping to create a more sustainable environment to live and work.”

RiverRidge, a disruptor in its sector, has been instrumental in the progress of Northern Ireland’s waste industry since its establishment in 2011. Working with a large number of the region’s councils, the company has played a pivotal role in enabling the achievement of landfill diversion strategies.

It developed the region’s first and only waste-to-energy facility, Full Circle Generation, which is beginning the second phase of its innovative waste-to-vehicle fuel project and is progressing with its project of converting plastic waste into industrial lubricants and waxes.