Waste recycling gets a boost in Wakefield

Things are looking up for recycling and waste diversion from landfill in West Yorkshire. Wakefield Council have just awarded a PFI contract(Private Finance Initiative (A public – private partnership to build public infrastructure with private capital) worth £750m to Shanks Group.

The PFI deal, supported by the Green Investment Bank has 2 phases, during the first phase, Shanks will take over the management of all the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in the Wakefield area, as well as the responsibility for the recycling and disposal of all municipal wastes collected by the council. During the first two years of this phase Shanks will also begin construction on the new facilities required to process the councils municipal waste for the next 25 years.

Phase two will commence when all the new facilities become operational, this includes

  • New HWRCs at Denby Dale Road, Glasshoughton and South Kirkby and a phasing out of the old sites at Ossett, Castleford, Ferrybridge, Fitzwilliam and South Kirkby Manface,
  • State of the art Materials Recycling Facility at South Kirkby including Autoclave and Anaerobic Digestion process to deal with residual waste and generate renewable energy for local households.
recycling centre layout

The proposed site layout for the new Shanks site at South Kirkby, nr Wakefield

The new facility to be constructed in South Kirkby is expected to divert 90% of the material sent to it from landfill, it will use a variety of methods for sorting and processing black bag waste, including use of an Autoclave which (after an initial sorting to remove metals, some plastics, aggregates and glass) sterilises the waste through a combination of heat, steam and pressure. Amongst several other effects on the waste, the process also causes plastics to soften and flatten and cleans labels from glass and metal cans. After “cooking” the volume of waste can be reduced by up to 60%.

After the autoclave, organic material is fed into an anaerobic digestion plant which converts the waste into methane gas (digestion by-product) and a digestate liquid. The gas will be used for renewable energy production. It is expected that the facility will be able to power approximately 3,000 homes.

Green waste will be processed at an enclosed composting facility. The product of this process will be used for improving land remediation schemes across Wakefield, with a proportion being made available to the wider market as well as local residents

The Council estimates that the new facility will improve it’s recycling rate from 39.3% in 2011/12 to a minimum of 52%. The government has allocated £33m in waste infrastructure credits to finance the development of the new facilities.

As the new facilities come online, the Council plans to change how waste is collected from the kerbside to make it easier for residents to recycle. The recycling box will be removed from use and Wakefield residents will be asked to mix the glass, plastics and cans in one wheelie bin with paper and card. The new Materials Recycling Facility at South Kirkby will separate these materials before sending them to recycling markets.