Last week, Ecotricity launched what they dubbed the ‘world’s first’ vegan electricity tariff whilst highlighting practices in the sector, such using animal body parts to generate gas and electricity.
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said: ‘For millions of Britons there’s a secret ingredient in their power, energy companies big, small, brown and green are using the by-products of factory farming to make electricity and gas. That’s not against the law, but it shouldn’t be a secret, any more than the ingredients in the food we buy should be secret – energy suppliers need to come clean. We need clear labelling of energy sourcing so that people can make informed choices.
‘It’s a surprising and rather shocking new frontier for the issues of veganism and animal rights. It’s not just the Big Six guilty of this – many independents and those who call themselves ‘ethical’ or ‘green’ are doing it too, rather shamefully.’
Late last year Big Six supplier SSE admitted it used dead salmon from factory fish farms in Scotland to generate some of its power, while a media expose showed that small green supplier Good Energy generated some of its ‘ethical green energy’ using pig slurry from a factory farm at the centre of animal cruelty allegations. Bulb, another small company claiming green credentials, supplies ‘green gas’ from the same type of source material.
But the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) dispute claims it is fuelling factory farming practices in the UK.
Their CEO, Charlotte Morton, said: ‘Ecotricity’s campaign serves to highlight the considerable waste generated by society today, which the anaerobic digestion industry recycles into valuable green energy and biofertilisers.
‘We fully support the waste hierarchy and believe that as little waste as possible should be produced across all areas of society, including food waste and agriculture. In an ideal world, there would be no need for our industry.
‘But where these wastes are produced – and they are, in huge quantities – it’s critical that they are recycled through anaerobic digestion – which gets by far the most out of them compared to other waste treatment technologies – into renewable energy and soil-restoring biofertiliser rather than left wasted and untreated to release climate-change-inducing methane into the atmosphere.
‘In the same way as recyclers of other materials such as paper, metal, or glass, anaerobic digestion is offering a solution to a problem we all create.
‘Anaerobic digestion is there to make the best of agricultural and other organic wastes (such as sewage and food waste) where they do arise, not to cause them in the first place – and this is a hugely important distinction.’