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Chocolate polar bear makes electricity

A 50KG chocolate polar bear has been turned into electricity, to raise awareness of the benefits of food recycling.

Bianca the polar bear was hand-crafted by Conwy Master Chocolatier, Emma Baravelli, delighting passers-by by taking centre stage in their Christmas window display.

Bianca in the Baravelli’s shop window

Weighing in at 50kg and containing 287,000 calories, Bianca featured on Channel 5 and even took a trip to Chester Zoo.

“After visiting the zoo and sitting in the window, Bianca wasn’t really fit for consumption,” said Mark Baravelli, Director. “But we wanted to make sure she was as useful as possible, so we got in touch with the Council to ask about anaerobic digestion.

Polar bears in the wild are losing habitat because climate change is reducing the sea ice they live and hunt on. By taking Bianca to be anaerobically digested, she’s been turned into fossil fuel-free energy, doing her bit for reducing carbon emissions.”

Bianca at Biogen

Bianca was collected by Conwy County Borough Council’s recycling team and taken to the Biogen plant in St Asaph, which processes all the food waste collected from the county’s residents. Last year, Conwy residents recycled 5769 tonnes of food waste, creating renewable energy and fertiliser for local farms.

Once at the site, food waste is shredded and turned in a porridge-like substance, which is pumped into digestion tankers. As the food waste digests, the gas it gives off is collected to drive an engine and create electricity, while the leftovers are pasteurised to create fertiliser. In total, the Biogen site processes 22,500 tonnes of food waste every year, generating 1 million watts of electricity.

Biogen staff with Bianca

“We are used to processing everything from tea bags and peelings to meat products and plate scrapings. But this is almost certainly the most unusual item of food waste we have ever processed!” said Darren Forster, Biogen UK’s Local Authority and Commercial Development Manager.

“We are pleased to have been able to offer an environmentally sustainable solution for Bianca, turning her into green, renewable electricity to power local homes and businesses.”