Peterborough's Queensgate shopping centre invests in green machine called the Sprout to devour customers' food left overs

Alex Johnson, assistant site manager at Queensgate, feeds the digester.Alex Johnson, assistant site manager at Queensgate, feeds the digester.
Alex Johnson, assistant site manager at Queensgate, feeds the digester.
A new recycling venture has been unveiled at Peterborough's Queensgate shopping centre that will consume waste food.

Queensgate has invested in a state-of-the-art digester that will turn the food left over by customers at the centre's restaurants and food outlets into liquid.

Nicknamed the Sprout, the digester can deal with 290kg of leftover food a day and means the waste will not have to be taken by road to landfill sites.

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It is being trialled by Costa, Greggs, When Polly Met Fergie and Handmade Burger and will eventually be used to dispose of all food waste generated by the centre’s food retailers, including coffee grounds.

It will also get rid of any issues with odours or pest risks that are always associated with food disposal management.

The organic food waste disposal kit uses anaerobic digestion technology and microorganisms to break down waste into a liquid.

It is reckoned that by removing the need to transport the waste by road means the centre will be able to cut its CO2 emissions.

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Waste food will be placed into caddies at the centre's food outlets and which will be emptied each day by members of Queensgate's housekeeping team into the digester.

Managers at Queensgate, which has won a number of awards for its environmental best practice, has bought the machine as part of its ongoing commitment to reduce its environmental impact.

Carol Wakelin, the centre's environmental manager, said: “We have a lot of waste streams – for cardboard, glass, palettes which are already run through recycling programmes – and this was the next step.

"It is part of our ethos to be environmentally conscious and here at Queensgate we will continue to strive to reduce our environmental impact.”