Irish utility provider Bord na Mona changes focus from peat to green waste

In a week when Bord na Mona announced it was creating 300 new jobs in green technologies, the importance of the shift in emphasis away from peat production for the Irish utility services provider was much in evidence at the Kildare show.

"Bord na Mona already has the largest green composting facility in Ireland, at Kilberry in County Kildare, and there are plans to invest a further EUR7m (£6m) in technologies to compost biodegradeable waste," said representative Jerry McCarthy.

"We will have to wind down peat production over the next 20 years."

At present the Kilberry site can handle 90,000 tonnes of green waste a year. Most of it is from collection centres around Dublin and it is also taking large quantities of spent grain from the Guinness brewery. The composting process works on a 14-week cycle.

McCarthy said: "We can dilute peat by up to 30 per cent with composted green waste to create a useable growing medium, but we're still developing the technology. We've got a programme of trials work with University College Dublin, and we've got four scientists of our own working on composting."

At present, DIY and garden retailer B&Q is Bord na Mona's biggest client for growing media with composted green waste. "It fits in with their environmental charter," said McCarthy.

Another company at the show plugging into the recycling agenda, Leinster Environmentals, was targetting nursery businesses and their plastic waste. "Most of the waste from nurseries is quite dirty," said the firm's James Loughran. "The best deal they can probably do is reduce the cost of removing the waste so that only transport is charged. But that can be a very significant benefit to the business."

The company is also issuing recycling certificates for all the materials the company accepts. "These are valuable in helping the company comply with legal requirements and the needs of quality-assurance schemes such as the one operated by Bord Bia," said Loughran.

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