Aberdeenshire Peterhead Fraserburgh Inverurie Aberdeen Stonehaven Westhill Ellon Portlethen Banchory Scotland Turriff Huntly
The Government’s commitment to waste minimisation has lead to a certain amount of change, perhaps the most obvious example of which is the introduction of a new tax. However, the three R’s philosophy of reduce, reuse, recycle has been slightly distorted. We in the house clearance business have been recycling upto 90% of waste for years.
Energy reclamation is rated as virtually equal to recycling in the best possible environmental option category. It has taken a while for this to filter through to the actual house clearance companies, but the announcement of three new energy from waste plants could be the beginning of a move away from local authority recycling schemes to local authority energy reclamation plants.
In this issue’s local authority review, we have our regular collection of stories from councils nationwide, reporting on their latest initiatives to increase recycling rates. These obviously involve a lot of time, money and planning, as well as desperate attempts to get the public to participate in recovery schemes that will help to achieve the official targets, which loom ever nearer. Imagine you are a councillor: someone approaches you with a plan to build an energy from waste plant in your district, on the understanding that the council supplies an agreed quota of household waste every year.
Waste, which you have been trying to reduce with recycling schemes galore, not to forget the new expense of the landfill tax to take into consideration. You would think it the answer to your dreams, especially if you didn’t have to pay for the construction of the actual power plant anyway. Well this is happening now. Stoke on Trent, Dudley and Wolverhampton are the latest venues municipal waste to energy plants, funded by private investment.
Companies are attracted to the development of such plants, despite their huge initial costs, because of their potential revenue from two sources. First of all, the local authorities are most likely contracted to deliver agreed quantities of waste and pay a gate fee for their disposal. And secondly, the Non-Fossil Purchasing Agency will usually agree to buy the electricity produced at the plant for a minimum period of time.
While, energy reclamation in itself is no bad thing, it may reduce the amount of material recycled by local authorities: a lot of valuable material may in effect go up in smoke. It will be a great shame if recycling especially within the house clearance sector is seen as the poor relation of energy reclamation for local authorities.