THOUSANDS of tonnes less of our rubbish is to be allowed to go to waste.
A revised contract between North Tyneside Council and Sita UK will lead to at least 60,000 tonnes of waste previously designated for landfill being recycled or used to generate electricity this year. That figure will rise to a maximum of 75,000 tonnes from next year.
The diverted waste will be converted into electricity at Sita UK’s energy-from-waste facility at Tees Valley or recycled or composted.
Taking into account residents’ recycling – now running at around 16,000 tonnes each year – that means only 12 per cent of the borough’s waste will be dumped in landfill sites from now on.
The council’s cabinet member for the environment, Ed Hodson, of St Mary’s in Whitley Bay, said: “We’re committed to protecting and enhancing our environment.
“This arrangement is excellent news as it means we not only need fewer landfill sites but it is also reduces the huge cost of disposing of the borough’s landfill waste.
“It’s one of many ways that we’re working with partners to reduce carbon emissions in the borough.”
John Grainger, processing general manager for Sita UK, said: “We aim to put the resources that we receive from our customers to the best possible use, so using material that would otherwise go to landfill to generate electricity is fantastic.
“Recovering waste to generate energy has massive environmental benefits.
“Aside from replacing the need to burn fossil fuel, it also reduces CO² and methane emissions that would be created if the waste was sent to landfill.”
Previously, up to 77 per cent of the borough’s waste went to landfill sites, though that has since been reduced to around 50 per cent.
Currently, about 10,000 tonnes of waste has to be dumped in landfill sites because it cannot be recycled or converted to electricity.
The council entered into a 20-year waste disposal contract with Sita UK in 1997 with an optional five-year extension, since taken up.
The deal is estimated to have saved the council about £10m through not having to pay the market rate for waste disposal and reduced procurement costs.