London, UK — The Duke of Kent has opened the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility. The site, developed by Veolia, on behalf of Leeds City Council has been built with the latest recycling and recovery technology to help transform residents’ black bag waste into a resource.The state-of-the-art plant processes all of the household black bin waste, separating out recyclable materials and then recovering what is left to generate energy. The site generates 11MW of energy, enough electricity to power 22,000 homes via the National Grid and will help boost Leeds recycling rates with the future aim of becoming a zero waste city.
Up to 20 percent taken for recycling
In the Mechanical Pre-Treatment (MPT) process the collected black bin rubbish is shredded and then sorted to extract recyclable material that has been placed in the black bin. Using different types of automated technology, the RERF extracts plastics, paper/ cardboard, ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as food and drink cans. These materials are then sent to reprocessors where they can be made into new products. This plant can take out up to 20 percent of the waste for recycling, contributing towards achieving Leeds ambitious recycling targets.
The Energy Recovery Facility operates 24/7 and operates well within the UK and EU standards for emissions to atmosphere. When all the recyclables have been removed the remaining waste is burnt in carefully controlled conditions. The heat from the combustion process is used to turn water into steam. The steam then power a turbine to generate around 11MW of electricity for export to the National Grid. The RERF has the flexibility to generate thermal energy which could be used to heat buildings and offices locally.
An iconic facility
Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice President Veolia UK and Ireland, underlined: “Leeds is a shining example of a circular economy hub transforming unwanted materials into an important resource. The partnership will continue to drive recycling rates and look for more solutions to material streams. Together we have created an iconic facility which is an attractive landmark for Leeds and more importantly a sustainable solution for the city’s waste for generations to come.”
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and sustainability, stated: “This excellent facility is at the heart of our commitment to sustainability and making the best use of our resources. It allows us to divert black bin waste away from landfill and into environmentally-friendly further recycling or energy creation. This in turn means we save a considerable amount of cash for Leeds by not having to pay landfill fees.”
The Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility is part of a 25-year PFI contract between Leeds City Council and Veolia.