Cardiff council has urged its residents to continue separating recyclables despite them “temporarily” being incinerated at Viridor’s energy from waste plant in the city during the coronavirus outbreak.
The council, which recorded a 59% recycling rate in 2019 with an in-house collection team, said all recyclables except for garden waste are now being collected weekly in one vehicle and taken to the EfW as it is the “safest option” for crews.
However, the council is urging residents to continue to separate material in order to maintain good habits, and told them there will not be enough room in residual bins for general waste and recyclable waste.
“Sending the majority of the city’s waste to Viridor’s facility is the safest option for residents and our crews during the ongoing crisis,” the council said in a statement.
It added: “The facility does recycle a proportion of waste which is put into the plant. This is through recycling the two residues which are produced through the process, which are bottom ash (materials that do not burn) and fly ash (residues collected through the flue gas treatment) and the removal and collection of metals after the combustion process.”
The council usually runs a separate food, glass, garden and dry mixed recycling service, but will now switch to a single weekly waste collection, and has also suspended garden waste collections.
A statement from Cardiff council said: “Most residents are already doing so but some are asking why they should continue to separate their recycling into green bags when the city’s recycling waste is being taken to Viridor’s energy recovery facility at Trident Park during the outbreak.”
Michael Michael, cabinet member of clean streets, environment and recycling at Cardiff council said: “It is important to emphasise that this is only a temporary measure implemented to ensure we can maintain a kerbside collection service across the city while supporting the health and welfare of the workforce and residents during the lockdown.
“Our priority at the moment is to remove waste from the city’s streets as quickly and as safely as possible. We had to do this with reduced resources due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the extra help we are giving the NHS. Our message to all residents is please continue to recycle your waste in the green bags provides. It helps us, it helps your neighbours and it helps the city.”
“Viridor is offering every assistance to local authorities by providing access to its network of specialised recycling and energy recovery facilities”
Mr Michael added that as Viridor’s facility is unable to process green garden waste, residents must store it in their gardens until garden waste collections resume as normal.
In a statement to letsrecycle.com, a Viridor spokesperson said: “Like Cardiff council, Viridor believes materials which can be recycled should be returned to the circular economy, and those which cannot should be used to generate low carbon heat and power at energy recovery facilities.
“Viridor’s Trident Park ERF is receiving recyclable material as part of temporary measures introduced by the council during this very challenging time. Viridor is offering every assistance to local authorities by providing access to its network of specialised recycling and energy recovery facilities across the UK during this very difficult time. As an essential service, the company is aware of the need to maintain waste management services and avoid further challenges for the health sector.”