7 December 2020 by James Langley

Sunderland begins work on £4m HWRC

The construction of a new £4 million household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) in Sunderland has begun, the city’s local authority announced on 3 December.

The HWRC is to be built on the site of a former Rolls Royce factory at Pallion, a suburb in north west Sunderland. It will replace Sunderland city council’s current Beach Street site, which the local authority says has reached the end of its natural life.

Council leader Graeme Miller (left) at the start of work on the new £4 million HWRC

Councillor Graeme Miller, the city council’s leader, said: “This is all about us listening to our residents. They told us that they wanted to see better household waste and recycling facilities and that’s something we have taken on board with our plans for this fantastic new centre.

“The new household waste and recycling centre will be a vast improvement on what we have now with greatly improved facilities and better access, including a walk-in option which again is something residents have asked for.

“So, it should provide for the city’s bulky waste and recycling needs well into the future as Sunderland continues to grow, including any future recycling opportunities. And I’m delighted to say that we will also have a recycle and re-use shop on the site which will allow people to bring along things they no longer want and leave them to be upcycled and repurposed.”


The HWRC is due to open in autumn 2021. A video of how the facility is set to look can be seen below.

Appointment system

The appointment system introduced to support social distancing and reduce queuing when the current HWRC reopened after lockdown will transfer to the new site when it opens. This is in view of its popularity, the council said.

Letsrecycle.com reported last week (3 December) that booking systems implemented at HWRCs during the coronavirus pandemic could become a permanent feature for some facilities after proving popular, despite continuing concerns about ‘no-shows’ (see letsrecycle.com story).

Cllr Miller said: “The appointment system has been really popular with residents using the Beach Street site, so it makes perfect sense to carry this over to the new centre.”

Beach Street

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

The site is operated by Suez on behalf of the council. A consortium led by the waste management company signed a £727 million PFI-funded contract to treat hundreds of thousands of tonnes of residual household waste a year in 2011 on behalf of three North East councils, including Sunderland (see letsrecycle.com story).

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).

Representing a population of around 280,000, Sunderland city council had a recycling rate of 27.1% in the 2019/19 financial year. This was below the national average of 45.1%.


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