West Wales councils sign £48 million RDF deal

Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire county councils have agreed a joint deal worth £48 million to process 30,000 tonnes per year of residual waste into refuse derived fuel (RDF) for export to Sweden.

The 15-year contract with Welshpool-based Potters Waste Management commences on March 1 2015 with an option to break at the end of year 10.

30,000 tonnes of waste collected in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion each year will be processed into RDF and exported to Sweden for energy recovery
30,000 tonnes of waste collected in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion each year will be processed into RDF and exported to Sweden for energy recovery

Prior to being shredded, baled and wrapped, the residual waste collected by the two councils will first be processed at sites in Pembroke Port and Lampeter to remove recyclable materials. The councils estimate that around 17.5% of residual waste within the contract will be recycled, equating to around 7% of their overall recycling rate.

The deal is expected to save each council around £350,000 per year, as well as creating 11 new jobs at Pembroke Dock.

The first shipment of RDF from Pembroke Dock is expected to take place at the beginning of June, when it will be sent for combined heat and power (CHP) generation in Sweden.

According to the councils, using excess capacity in Swedish incinerators allows the waste to be disposed of a reduced cost and CHP technology “enables far more energy to be extracted from the waste compared with most UK incinerators”.

Ceredigion county councillor, Alun Williams, portfolio holder for waste and recycling, said: “Ceredigion is always keen to work together with our neighbouring councils and we’re very happy to be doing so with Pembrokeshire on this occasion, thereby saving money for both councils. In addition to the cost savings, this agreement is also the most environmentally benign option available to us. We will be extracting additional recyclate from the waste before exporting and, once the agreement is up and running, our intention is that none of our waste will be going to landfill at all.”

Both councils operate fortnightly waste collections alongside weekly food waste collections and a weekly commingled dry recycling service, which excludes glass. Pembrokeshire operates a separate kerbside glass collection service, while Ceredigion residents are encouraged to take glass to recycling banks.

Pembrokeshire councillor Huw George, cabinet member for environmental and regulatory services, added that the contract would “create jobs, make savings and ensure an environmentally improved alternative to landfill for the disposal of our black bag waste”.

Framework contract

The deal has been agreed under an ‘innovative framework contract’ created under advice from consultancy Eunomia.

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Pembrokeshire council’s head of environment and civil contingencies, Richard Brown, said the framework deal “provides a flexible, low-risk, value-for-money approach that enables us to divert waste from landfill in the short term, but avoids committing too much waste to incineration in the long term as recycling rates escalate”.

Under the framework, any other council in Wales join the contract and can buy waste disposal services from one of seven suppliers, including two UK-based and five export solutions.

Pembrokeshire council said it has had interest from “a number of other authorities” about joining the deal.

Operations director of Potters Waste Management, Debbie Potter, said she was “delighted” to have secured the contract, which follows the firm’s recent acquisition of Permbrokeshire landfill and MRF operator Resources Management UK from SITA UK in November 2014 (see letsrecycle.com story).

She said: “This is a new venture for us and we are delighted to be working with Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion county councils on this innovative scheme to make best use of waste, while also creating employment opportunities.

“The framework contract gives us the opportunity to work with all other councils in Wales to help them secure savings and meet their financial and performance demands.”

Related Links:

Pembrokeshire county council
Ceredigion county council
Potters Waste Management
Eunomia

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