New bioplant will bring UK one step closer to a circular economy

​Published on August 12th, 2016

A lot of household waste cannot be recycled because it contains many inseparable materials. Our waste technology, REnescience, changes this fact and now the first REnescience full-scale bioplant is underway in the UK.


Today, only half of UK's household waste is recycled. From an environmental point of view, that is an issue. Waste contains valuable resources and if recycled, waste can be turned into new products or new energy. When we send waste to recycling instead of landfilling, we curb the extraction of raw materials. This in turn cuts CO2 emissions and benefits the climate.

In DONG Energy, we have developed a technology that uses enzyme treatment to separate and sort household waste so that more of it can be recycled. We call it REnescience.


Sorting waste for 110,000 British homes

Much household waste consists of many different materials that are impossible to separate manually. For example, a carton of orange juice contains foil on the inside, paper on the outside, organic pulp leftovers and maybe a plastic cap. In a busy everyday life, few people have the time or the skills to separate the carton's materials at home. REnescience makes it possible to separate a higher fraction of household waste for recycling, than what was possible before.

We are building the first full-scale plant near Manchester in the UK. The plant will treat waste from around 110,000 British households, clearing the way for more recycling in the community.


Resources returned to circulation

The REnescience technology separates waste through a process somewhat similar to when you wash your clothes in a washing machine. The unsorted household waste is mixed with water and enzymes. After some hours of slow spinning, the waste is separated into two different fractions. Food waste and the like make up a biological fraction, and plastic, foil, etc. form a non-biological fraction.

Now, the biological fraction can be turned into biogas that is used for green energy. The non-biological material can be recycled into new products or used for incineration to generate new energy. In this way, REnescience offers a method to send resources back in circulation, boosting a circular approach to resources.