Friday, 21 September 2018

Currently 55% of household waste is recycled in Devon > with a potential of up to 71% > the rest is incinerated

Back in April, the Vision Group's SidEnergy put on a trip to Exeter:
Futures Forum: SidEnergy visit to Exeter waste-to-energy plant >>> report: very positive and encouraging but still questions about recycling plastic waste...

Several questions arose at the time - which led to this FOI request:
Futures Forum: County Council and plastic pollution >>> "the Council will use its position and responsibility to raise awareness of the issues surrounding single-use plastics" >>> BUT the Council "does not hold information" on how its reprocessors deal with its plastic waste

Earlier this month, Sustainable Crediton paid a visit to Exeter:

Visit to Exeter Energy from Waste facility

13 September 2018

Members of Sustainable Crediton recently accepted Crediton Town Council's offer to visit the Energy from Waste site with them. Operational since July 2014, this facility has state of the art technology to monitor the waste and its outputs. It takes the waste from a population of 779,834. 55% of household waste is now recycled but this still leaves approximately 1 ton per household to deal with. Landfill has run out and this facility was deemed the solution rather than long distance shipping of waste to another facility.

Waste is brought in by an almost continuous supply of a vehicles which then tip the waste into a huge concrete hole in the ground. One side of the wall is a glass viewing screen via which staff operate the crane feeding the hoppers that fill the incinerator, a 24 hours a day operation.  Part of the waste is stacked to make sure there is enough to keep the system running at night. It is part space age technology as you watch the many screens monitoring and adjusting the oscillating  furnace machinery for optimum operation and part nightmare as you watch the grab lift the waste and see just how much there is that could and should be recycled.

New treatments mean the waste from the end of the process is a lot safer than earlier incinerators, the formerly dangerous fly ash is now starting to be used to make breeze blocks and the remaining waste goes for road making. The news that only part of the energy produced is usable locally was disappointing. As the plant was built after the surrounding businesses and homes, the infrastructure is not there to supply it.

Devon County Council is not complacent, they are still promoting recycling and suggest that up to 71% of waste could be recycled. Currently in Mid Devon we are at 53.4% with Teignbridge leading with 55.7%, though Mid Devon has shown the largest growth recently. A lot of work is going on with school education, as DCC believe it is by educating the next generation we may hope to reduce waste and recycle more.

Sustainable Crediton - Visit to Exeter Energy from Waste facility

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