15 April 2021 by James Langley

Sunderland begins search for HWRC operator

Sunderland city council has begun the search for a contractor to manage and operate its new household waste recycling centre (HWRC).

The £4 million HWRC, which was granted planning permission in October 2020, is to be built on the site of a former Rolls Royce factory at Pallion, a suburb in northwest Sunderland (see letsrecycle.com story).

Sunderland city council Leader Graeme Miller at the start of work on the new £4 million HWRC in December 2020 (picture: Sunderland city council)

It will replace the council’s current Beach Street site, which is said to have reached the end of its natural life.

Fiona Brown, executive director of neighbourhoods at Sunderland city council, said: “Construction on the new household waste and recycling centre is going really well. Work on site began in December and the centre is on track to open in the autumn. The new HWRC will provide for Sunderland’s bulky waste and recycling needs well into the future as the city continues to grow.

“It will offer greatly improved facilities and much better access than the current site, as well as an on-site recycle and re-use shop, which will allow people to bring along things they no longer want and leave them to be upcycled and repurposed.

“The new HWRC is also living up to its name by using recycled materials from the old Rolls Royce buildings which once occupied the site in its construction, which is very much in keeping with purpose of the new centre.”


The £650,000 contract will last for 18 months, with the option of three further 12-month extensions. Sunderland city council expects to award the contract by 18 June. It is set to begin on 1 October 2021, though this is subject to change.

“Construction on the new household waste and recycling centre is going really well”

Fiona Brown, Sunderland city council

Alongside management and operation of the HWRC, the contractor will also be responsible for the overall cleanliness of the facilities, repairs and maintenance, and opening and closing each day.

The contract will cover the transport of materials to material markets to enable its processing or disposal via a dedicated service area.

Facilities at the HWRC will comprise bring site containers for recyclable materials, storage areas for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), a reception building to be used by the site attendants to help customers, and a waste reception area with a wide range of containers in which to deposit materials brought on to the site.

Sunderland city council says health and safety and “positive interaction” with customers at the facility are key parts of its operation, as is the consideration for disabled users.


In previous years, Sunderland’s existing Beach Street site had around 40,000 visits annually and collected around 17,000 tonnes of plastic, wood, rubble, garden waste and redundant electrical appliances, such as white goods or televisions.

About 60% of the waste delivered to the Beach Street site is recycled. The remainder is sent to an energy from waste (EfW) facility on Teesside, which opened in October 2014 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Sunderland city council says any waste at the new Pallion site that is not fit for reuse will be separated into recycling waste streams and taken to a recycling reprocessing facility. The remaining residual waste will be sent to the EfW facility.

Representing a population of around 280,000, Sunderland city council had a recycling rate of 27.3% in the 2019/20 financial year.


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