Viridor on track for zero-waste-to-landfill at EfW plants

Waste disposal firm Viridor has taken a major step towards becoming zero-waste to landfill in its Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) thanks to a new recycling deal with a carbon-negative aggregate specialist.


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A 10-year contract, signed with Carbon8, will see the firm collect and recycle around 25,000 tonnes of Air Pollution Control residue (APCr) a by-product of the filtering process to clean energy-from-waste (EfW) exhaust gases.

Traditionally, this waste has been sent to landfill, but Carbon8’s unique recycling process treats the residue and ultimately converts it into a lightweight aggregate material which can be used to make building blocks.

The amount of CO2 captured in the process outweighs the embodied CO2 in the cement and other materials, meaning the resulting aggregate is carbon-negative.

Viridor energy-from-waste director Stuart Sim said: “We’re excited to be amongst the leaders within the industry making this happen.

“We’re committed to giving the world’s resources new life, and seeing our residues recycled and become carbon-negative products within the construction industry really demonstrates clear progress on resource efficiency in this important and growing part of our sector.”

The financial details of the contract have not been disclosed, but there is an option for a five-year extension after the original deal has run its course.

Milestone

In April, two of Britain’s major landfill sites were closed down thanks to the increasing amount of non-recyclable waste that is being converted to energy rather than simply being disposed of. Viridor hailed the closures as an “important milestone in the ongoing efforts to drive value from our waste hierarchy”. 

However,the industry has warned that its future success could be hindered by the current subsidy support mechanism, the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction.

Juergen Maier, the UK chief executive of Siemens, told an EfW conference last week that the Government should be focusing on delivering a fairer mix of renewable energy technologies when handing out subsidies.

“The last [CfD] auction – and future auctions I suspect – will not end up delivering the right technology mix that we actually want here in the UK,” Maier said. “At the moment, the money all goes into a bucket and then it’s the mechanism which is meant to decide what comes out at the other end.”

Brad Allen

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