Waste infrastructure project begins
The process of identifying the contractor who will deliver facilities to treat around 110,000 tonnes a year of residual waste collected by City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils is now under way.
A mix of technologies will be used to extract marketable recyclables from the unsorted waste collected by the two Councils and to recover energy from the remainder, with a minimum of treated residues being sent for landfill disposal.
The procurement of the residual waste treatment facilities marks a significant step towards a zero waste future. At the moment mixed residual waste accounts for around two-thirds of all the waste collected by the Councils, the majority of which is sent to landfill sites. This is not a sustainable practice as it contributes to climate change and is a waste of valuable resources.
The residual waste treatment facilities will enable both Councils to meet the requirements of Scotland's Zero Waste Plan regarding the ban on the disposal of biodegradable waste to landill that is to come into force in 2020. It is expected that the contract will be awarded by 2014 and that the facilities will be operational in 2017.
A separate procurement process for food waste treatment facilities started last year and is likely to be concluded by the end of 2012 with commencement of operation in 2015 in time for the landfill ban on source segregated food waste and recyclables.
Councillor Russell Imrie, Cabinet Member for Strategic Services at Midlothian Council, said: "We are very pleased to mark the second key phase of a process that will change the way we deal with waste forever. We are becoming more environmentally conscious, more resource efficient, more sustainable and less wasteful.
"We are facing significant environmental challenges over the next few years and this is something we cannot simply ignore in the hope someone else will step up and take responsibility. By continuing to bury valuable wastes in landfill sites we are not only exposing the Partner Councils to ever increasing disposal costs but we are depleting our finite supply of raw materials and allowing landfill gas emissions to add to global warming.
"Up until now there has quite rightly been an initial concentration on the 3 'R's; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. While we continue to build on these we also need to incorporate the fourth 'R', 'Recovery' to complete the full sustainable waste management system. Waste is a resource and we need to treat it as such. By recovering as much value from it as we can, both as recyclables and energy, we are moving closer to a Zero Waste Future.
"We owe this not only to our residents but to the wider world, where we all need to play a part in tackling the immense issues of climate change and the wasteful use of our scarce natural resources."