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New Waste Treatment Arrangements Bring Major Financial and Environmental Benefits

August 24, 2012 5:30 PM

Mayor Dave Hodgson Using his Orange-Lidded Recycling BinThis week we have agreed new contracts for dealing with the black and orange bin waste collected from the doorstep which bring major benefits for both local taxpayers and for the environment. The contracts will save a combined £6.9 million over the 5 year contract periods, while delivering a boost to recycling and to the effort to divert more waste away from environmentally harmful landfill.

Each year the Council collects over 70,000 tonnes of household waste, equating to just over one tonne of rubbish per household. Bedford Borough Council inherited contracts from the former County Council which involved black bin waste being sent for landfill and incineration. I have campaigned with colleagues for a number of years against mass-burn incineration, which is damaging to the environment and is a wasteful way to treat household rubbish. That's why I'm delighted that we have been able to enter an agreement which not only saves a vast amount of money of local taxpayers, but will also see local households' black bin waste treated via the environmentally sustainable mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) process.

This will take place using spare capacity at an MBT plant operated at Frog Island in London. The process maximises diversion from landfill by extracting recyclable material from the waste. A natural drying process with minimal emissions is used, reducing the waste by around 30%, followed by mechanical refinement to help extract as much recyclable material as possible. There is an end product of Solid Recovered Fuel, a fossil fuel alternative used in energy generation and cement production.

This process will deliver an immediate increase in our recycling rate of up to 4%. It really is great that rather than all that waste collected every week just being thrown in the ground or burnt, mechanical and biological treatment of our black bin waste will see more recyclable material extracted from the waste stream, minimising the impact on the environment.

Orange bin waste will continue to be processed at the same facility in Milton Keynes, where there is a recovery rate from the materials handled of around 96%. We can therefore be reassured that the waste which goes in the orange bin is recycled, as far as possible. Meanwhile, the new recycling contract delivers an extremely good deal financially for the local taxpayer.

Both of the successful contract tenders represented the best options in terms of quality, price and best value to the Council, and represent great news for local taxpayers and for our environment.