After successful large-scale trials, Veolia has demonstrated a new way of treating the 25% of green waste that is ultimately sent for disposal or recomposting. The new process required a £ 1m investment in a bespoke fixed cleaning line to remove the contaminants from the 30,000 tonnes of oversized compost that is generated each year at four locations in the south. This converts the material into a clean wood product like PAS100-approved mulch for gardening and landscaping or a renewable biomass fuel for electricity and heating that replaces new alternatives like wood chips and bark.
By processing these more efficiently, these products can reduce the number of trees felled for wood products, and the process also removes contaminants from composting sites and improves the quality of the compost that is applied to the land. The effectiveness of the new process means that composting plants will be much more efficient, disposal costs will be significantly reduced and greenhouse gas pollution will be reduced. To date, more than 55,000 tons of contaminated oversized compost has been processed in this way, and the plant aims to find an alternative use for all removed pollutants and to avoid landfill waste.
By supporting this new innovation, we have increased the effectiveness of the operation and will offer additional high quality sustainable wood mulch and renewable fuels.
Veolia currently processes over 500,000 tonnes of green and food waste every year from a nationwide network of 11 composting plants that produce over 250,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to around 12 million bags. Previously, around 25% of green waste was oversized after composting, as some green waste bins contain physical contaminants such as plastic and metal that were incorrectly disposed of by customers. Even after careful processing, this contamination ends up in the compost oversize, the larger, woody portion that remains after the valuable compost product fraction has been removed at the end of the composting process. If a site runs out of storage space or is too contaminated to be recirculated, landfill costs are incurred, which in turn add to greenhouse gas emissions.
Donald Macphail, Veolia’s Chief Operating Officer – Treatment, said, “Composting facilities are the perfect example of a circular economy, and the need to process this material efficiently is likely to increase regularly with the prospect that green waste can be collected for free, like pledged in the government’s resource and waste strategy
“By supporting this new innovation, we have increased the effectiveness of the operation and will offer additional high quality sustainable wood mulch and renewable fuels. This will help horticulture and renewable energy generation and is another important step we are taking to reduce our environmental footprint and drive a lower carbon economy. “