Television celebrity and recycling campaigner, Janet Street-Porter, has officially opened a new £8million plant which will convert leftover food into heat, power and bio-fertiliser.
The Emerald Biogas site, in Newton Aycliffe, uses an anaerobic digestion process to convert commercial waste food.
Bacteria is added to the waste to break it down and generate methane gas. The remains are then turned into fertiliser, which is distributed to landowners and agricultural businesses within ten miles of the site, and energy to power 2,000 homes.
It estimates 800 tonnes of waste food are generated in the region each year. Schools, councils and local businesses are among those whose waste will end up at the facility.