News in brief (20/06/2022)

With news on: Welsh council approves £390m glass plant; Esken Renewables helps cut greenhouse gas emissions; Wealden announces end of strike; Biffa awarded silver Armed Forces award; and, Re-Gen visit ‘green’ cement plant.

Welsh council approves £390m glass plant

Blaenau Gwent county borough council granted a planning permission for a £390m glass container manufacturing facility last week (16 June), which uses recycled glass at the Rassau Industrial Estate, South Wales.

The project will be carried out by CiNER Glass UK, with the facility planned to start producing glass in 2026.

Mrs Dedim Ciner, executive board member of CiNER Glass Ltd

The plant is planned to consist of a four-part operation for the production of glass containers: melting and forming; the handling of raw materials; inspection and packaging and warehousing.

Mrs Didem Ciner, executive board member of CiNER Glass Ltd, commented: “We are extremely pleased to have received approval to move forward with our exciting plans to build and operate our new glass bottle manufacturing facility in Ebbw Vale. This is the first step towards building a world-class facility in the heart of South Wales and we cannot wait to begin working on making our vision for Blaenau Gwent a reality.”

The use of cullet is proposed to make up to 38% of the total raw materials for amber glass and 25% of the raw materials for green glass. The company didn’t say the capacity of the facility or tonnages of recycled material used.

Esken Renewables ‘helps cut’ greenhouse gas emissions

Biomass supplier Esken Renewables helped the UK to avoid 630,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions last year, according to a report by Logica Consultants.

Esken Renewables uses waste wood from the construction industry and household waste and recycling centres to produce biomass fuel, diverting it from landfill where it would produce methane gas over time.

Esken Renewables, formerly Stobart Energy,  supplied 1.1 million tonnes of biomass fuel to customers in 2021

The company said that last year it treated and supplied 1.1 million tonnes of biomass fuel to its customers.

Producing energy using biomass plants compared to gas-fired electricity also meant that the UK was able to avoid 714,000 tonnes of GHG emissions in the year from fossil fuels. The combined GHG emissions savings of avoiding waste wood going to landfill and using it to generate renewable energy meant that the UK avoided around 1.3 million tonnes of carbon emission in the previous financial year.

Richard Jenkins, chief executive of Esken Renewables, said: “We believe that with the right government support the biomass industry, and in particular those that use fuel from waste wood, can play a critical role in the objective to achieve net zero by 2050.”

Wealden announces end of strike

Wealden district council announced last week (14 June) that its waste contractor Biffa has reached a settlement with the GMB union, bringing industrial action to an end.

The council said striking staff returned to work last Thursday (16 June) and it planned to work with Biffa “to reinstate full collection services and recover outstanding waste as quickly as possible.”

The GMB union said the strike lasted for 6 weeks and 2 days (picture: Wealden district council)

The GMB said that the strike ended after 6 weeks and 2 days of action.

The total value of the settlement is said to be worth between 24 and 27 percent, depending on which job the workers do.

Gary Palmer, GMB regional organiser, commented: “Our members have successfully earned themselves a massive pay rise, but this is simply just reward for the demanding and very important job that they do every day.”

Biffa awarded silver Armed Forces award

A commitment to recruiting and supporting ex-servicemen has earned Biffa “a promotion from Bronze to Silver” as part of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Biffa said it was promoted due to its “ongoing support for the Armed Forces community, including increasing the number of paid leave for reservists to five days a year”.

Biffa said the promotion was down to its ‘ongoing support for the Armed Forces community’

Military personnel often have skills relevant to the waste and recycling industry including logistics, leadership, engineering and incident management.

Carl Houston, a quality assurance manager for Biffa Polymers, served seven years in the Royal Corps of Signals before leaving in 2007. He said: “Life in the services is very different to civilian life, with everything structured and very little change.

“To try and convert experiences and qualities obtained in the forces into something of value to a new civilian employer is very difficult”.

Re-Gen visit ‘green’ cement plant

Representatives of Re-Gen Waste have visited Holcim in Spain to see the process behind the ECOPlanet range of green cement.

Holcim uses Re-Gen solid recovered fuel (SRF) as a partial substitute for the burning of fossil coal in the heat generation required in cement production.

Joseph Doherty, Re-Gen’s managing director, said: “There are two benefits of solid recovered fuel in cement production. The energy value within the fuel is fully utilised and the high temperature within the process destroys all elements of the SRF with remaining ash being incorporated within the cement. The full recovery of energy and complete destruction of the waste derived fuel is another step in Re-Gen’s development strategy.”

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