SCOTLAND: Midlothian Council awaits approval of plans for 30% domestic recycling

With Scotland the lowest of the low when it comes to levels of domestic waste recycling, news that Midlothian Council is planning to recycle almost 30% of the waste at a local landfill site is groundbreaking.

Hanson Waste Management has been given planning permission by Midlothian Council to extend the Drummond Moor landfill near Penicuik and at the same time build a ‘waste management complex’ that will compost nearly 30% of the waste delivered to the site. In addition,ferrous and non-ferrous metals will also be recovered.

An estimated 100,000 tonnes of waste will be recycled per annum and an educational facility for school children will be included on the site.

“The technology has been used in Europe for over 20 years and we know it works,” a Hanson official told edie. “We’ve been to see it. It will meet requirements [for pre-treatment of biodegradable waste] under the EU directive [see related story] and we can increase the amount of material we recycle if there are markets available.” The official confirmed that a market for compost is available whereas plastics represent a problem and therefore the plans do not currently foresee plastics recovery.

The plans now require a ‘rubber stamp’ from the Scottish Executive and licensing from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

RPS, an environmental consultancy, was designated the lead consultant for Hanson’s expansion plans at Drummond Moor (see related story). “It was Hanson who said ‘We want a waste management complex, not just a landfill site’,” Bob Salter, operational director of RPS’ Edinburgh office, told edie. “The big advantage of the [waste sorting and recycling facility] is that it’s got the ability – depending on the kit installed – to adapt to changing EU waste recycling targets. It’s got the potential to take out up to three-quarters of the waste arriving at the site,” says Salter.

The technology that Hanson would like to use for waste sorting and composting at Drummond Moor is Italian and RPS’ Salter hopes that such advanced waste management technology will become more common in the UK. “When the Europeans come over here, they think what we’re doing is prehistoric,” he says.

Hanson would also like to receive planning permission for another site expansion to include waste recycling, at Kaimes near Edinburgh. According to the Hanson official, these plans have been subject to some opposition from local residents and are still under consideration by Edinburgh City Council.

The UK recycles the lowest percentage of domestic waste of any other EU member state, with Scotland recycling less than England and Wales (see related story).

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