A good turnover: Oatly recycles tonnes of soil for new rugby pitches

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The newly replenished pitch at Peterborough Rugby Union Football Club (PRUFC)

The donation will provide top-notch facilities for the hundreds of men, women, boys and girls who play at the club. 

Oatly is building a dedicated UK factory in Peterborough, set to open in 2023, which will be one of the world’s biggest plant-based dairy factories when it opens, helping to meet the growing demand in the UK and creating around 200 new jobs. 

This is part of an ongoing mission to drive a systemic shift in the food system towards plant-based diets. The new factory, once open, will produce 300 million litres of oat drink per year. 

The 5000 tonne soil donation has helped replenish and relevel the rugby club pitches and was excavated from the Oatly factory site just seven miles away from PRUFC, and is part of Oatly’s commitment to the local community. The donation means the soil, which is often a waste product in construction, is being reused in a sustainable way. 

The first game on the new pitches will be taking place tomorrow, Saturday April 23 - the highly anticipated Derby Day between Peterborough and Kettering. A key fixture in local diaries, 1000 people are expected to attend this weekend to watch the teams battle it out on the newly-surfaced grounds. 

The opening of Oatly’s UK factory will coincide with 100 years of play for PRUFC, and both the club and Oatly hope to continue to cooperate in the future. 

Andrew Burgess, president of the club said: “We are delighted to accept the donation of soil from the Oatly factory to rebuild and expand our rugby pitches. As a non-profit organisation we rely on donations to keep the club functioning.  

“This donation will benefit the hundreds of boys and girls, men and women who use our facilities every single day. I look forward to seeing how we can work with Oatly in the future and, who knows, we might start offering plant-based coffees within the club house!” 

Ishen Paran, general manager at Oatly UK said: “Ahead of our factory launch next year, we are really excited to have the chance to start supporting the local area. It has been great to see the soil repurposed to support the PRUFC in this way, enabling the club to expand, whilst also respecting our planet’s resources as we lay down roots in the UK.  

“We wish both teams the best of luck this weekend.”