British recycling innovator scoops top award

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An innovative British company has won a prestigious recycling award - just three months after launching.

Vertal opened its first hi-tech food waste processing plant in Mitcham, South London early in 2010.

Now its pioneering approach has won in the Innovation in Design of a Waste Management Facility category at’s prestigious Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management.

Each year, Vertal will divert around 100,000 tonnes of London’s food waste from landfill, transforming it instead into a rich agricultural fertiliser to grow new crops.

Vertal’s founder and managing director, Leon Mekitarian said: "We’re delighted to have been nominated for an Award for Excellence so soon after launching.

"Recycling is a mucky business - no point in being precious about it.  But that doesn’t mean it should be a dirty word.”

"There’s a really exciting technological revolution going on in waste management right now, and Britain is leading the way.  This award acknowledges that.”

Presented by broadcaster Huw Edwards, the award recognized Vertal’s success in building a plant that would ‘gain acceptance and blending with the local environment’.  Vertal’s plant, in Mitcham South London, is sited next to a nature reserve, and has revived a previously near-derelict building.

The company’s process combines traditional composting techniques with state-of-the-art technology to achieve extremely fast throughput on a very compact footprint - ideal for urban recycling close to the major sources of waste.

The process is entirely self-heating, harnessing the latent energy released during digestion to pasteurise food waste naturally under its own steam.
And the end product is exceptionally high in nutrients, so directly replaces petrochemical fertilisers used to grow new crops, thereby reducing British farmers’ current £1.5 billion annual reliance on oil and gas-derived products.

A short video about Vertal can be seen at: