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Recycling food waste at Birmingham Airport


Food waste recycling

Birmingham Airport, the UK’s third largest airport outside London, has successfully set up a permanent food waste recycling scheme, in partnership with Mitie

What was Birmingham Airport looking for?

The airport saw an opportunity to divert food waste from other waste streams to increase recycling and prevent contamination of recyclable materials.
Because most of the food waste is produced by the concessions in the public areas of the airport, Birmingham Airport wanted to implement a plan that would engage the staff working in these areas.
Birmingham Airport and Mitie implemented a food waste recycling scheme in 2013, applying best practice and efficiency measures in every step of the process.

How did we help?

There was a large array of food waste produced in the Birmingham Airport mainly originating from the airport’s concessions (e.g. packaged food, plate scrapings and leftovers, out of date stock).

Following a small scale trial which involved working with a few chosen stakeholders to achieve involvement and commitment to the new process, food waste was successfully segregated and a full recycling scheme was rolled out subsequently.

The result

Over the last ten months the airport has been successful in diverting over 70 tonnes of food waste from traditional disposal routes to a local anaerobic digestion plant.  At the plant, the waste is de-packaged, sorted and processed to be turned into ground fertiliser, producing renewable energy in the process.

Energy derived from the process supplies over 2,500 local homes and businesses with electricity.

Key benefits for Birmingham Airport: 

  • Full compliance with existing and future legislation on waste segregation and food waste recycling
  • Approximately 70 tonnes of food waste diverted to anaerobic digestion
  • Increased quality of remaining general waste opening up new initiatives to increase recycling from residual waste

 Michael Taylor, MD of Mitie's waste and environmental business said "The roll-out has been a great success story and the airport and the concessions involved have done an excellent job in changing culture and encouraging buy-in from all staff which was crucial in achieving a successful transition"


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