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Plaudits for London's new recycling centre

Source: Public Sector Executive May/June 12

Southwark Council leader Cllr Peter John says that recycling and waste collection technology has taken “a huge leap forward”.

One of the most advanced recycling and waste centres in Europe was officially opened in Southwark in April.

The £60m facility is operated by Veolia Environmental Services with Southwark Council under their 25-year PFI recycling and waste contract.

The facility is handling all the borough’s recycling and household waste – about 120,000 tonnes a year. It houses London’s first inner-city Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plant, which can remove any stray recyclables from residents’ black bag waste and turn the remainder into solid recovered fuel for energy recovery, as opposed to going to landfill. It also contains a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) that sorts all materials collected for recycling from Southwark households, allowing residents to place all of their recycling in one container.

The facility is designed to keep noise to an absolute minimum, due to its location, and it has been designed using ‘negative pressure’ to prevent smells being let out – this is being monitored by the Environment Agency.

Council leader Cllr Peter John said: “The technology behind recycling and waste collection is taking a huge leap forward with this new site, but perhaps more important are the benefits to the man and woman in the street. Not only does it allow them to recycle more types of material than before but it takes away the need to sort. The site’s ability to divert rubbish from landfill and turn it into fuel, are both great achievements for Southwark and should benefit residents as well.”

Veolia Environmental Services UK CEO Jean- Dominique Mallet said he was “exceptionally proud” of the facility, which was built by VolkerFitzpatrick. It has a visitor centre with solar panels, smart taps and air source heat pumps, and the facility also has grey water recycling, among other eco-friendly features.

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