New waste plant is the way ahead

Environment Minister Richard Lochhead, with Avondale managing director Colin Cooper, carries out the official opening
Environment Minister Richard Lochhead, with Avondale managing director Colin Cooper, carries out the official opening

Plans to divert 90 per cent of waste from a landfill site to a new £20 million facility were unveiled this week.

Avondale Environmental opened its state-of-the-art advanced waste treatment centre next to its landfill site in Polmont on Wednesday and has set a target of 2015 for the landfill diversion.

The materials recycling facility is capable of of processing 200,000 tonnes - the equivalent of all of Glasgow’s black bag waste - refuse that would previously have gone to landfill and will create 70 new jobs, with more to follow in the future.

It will also harvest materials like plastic, glass, metal and aluminium which can be sold on for re-use, while other waste such as paper can be used to power other energy-from-waste plants.

Doing the opening honours at the new site, Environment Minister Richard Lochhead said the centre was an important step to helping Scotland become a ‘Zero Waste’ nation by 2025.

The MSP added: “The future of waste management is not in landfill and I am pleased to see an operator such as Avondale investing in a solution that offers a genuine alternative for black bin bag waste.

“This new facility gives a final opportunity to recycle some of this material and produce energy from the rest.”

Around 60 per cent of the waste going through the facility will be diverted from landfill through recycling and developing fuels for energy production, while the plant will be powered by renewable electricity created by methane gas from the neighbouring landfill site.

Avondale managing director Colin Cooper said: “We are delighted to be delivering a nationally important recycling and fuel-from-waste facility.

“By providing an accessible facility in the heart of Scotland we can offer a responsible alternative to landfill. It is also good news for the local community as our workforce is set to grow over the coming months as we increase towards full production.”

Polmont resident and member of the Avondale Liaison Group Sandy Simpson welcomed the new centre as a positive boost for the environment and local community.

He said: “While Avondale has had problems with the landfill site, they do run things very well and are very open about the problems they have had over the past couple of years.

“This new site will help reduce waste going to the landfill site and will create jobs in the local community, which can only be a good thing at this moment in time.”

The centre is the first part of a project which will eventually feature a thermal drying facility producing high quality fuels and an advanced thermal treatment facility to produce even more renewable fuel, which will help divert 90 per cent of waste from landfill by 2015.

SEPA’s head of region for the east of Scotland, Lin Bunten, said: “The centre is a positive contribution towards Scotland’s Zero Waste ambitions.”

Depute convenor of Falkirk Council’s environment committee, Councillor Craig R. Martin, said the landfill diversion will save the local authority money. He added: “It’s a win-win for the council and the people of Falkirk.

“It brings 70 highly skilled jobs to the area when they are very much needed with plans to expand the site in future bringing more jobs. It saves the council money by diverting our waste away from landfill and makes the company money by turning our waste into resources.”