Recycling rise means waste intake at incinerator must increase

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 June 2019

The energy-from-waste plant at Great Blakenham

The energy-from-waste plant at Great Blakenham

Tata Steel

Plans to increase the amount of rubbish being processed at Suffolk’s state-of-the-art incinerator have come about because more plastic is being recycled in the county, according to the plant manager.

Paul Newby, the plant manager at the energy-from-waste site at Great Blakenham Picture: Ross BentleyPaul Newby, the plant manager at the energy-from-waste site at Great Blakenham Picture: Ross Bentley

Suez, the company that operates the energy-from-waste site at Great Blakenham on the outskirts of Ipswich, recently announced its intention to increase the amount of black bag refuse it takes in from a current capacity of 269,000 tonnes per year to 295,000 tonnes per year.

It is in the process of submitting an application for a new licence to Suffolk County Council and says the 15% increase is within the conditions of its original planning permission.

Waste entering the energy-from-waste facility is burnt at high temperatures and used to power a steam turbine which last year generated more than 180,000 megawatt hours of electricity - enough to provide electricity for more than 30,000 homes.

The waste incinerator at Great Blakenham. Photograph Simon ParkerThe waste incinerator at Great Blakenham. Photograph Simon Parker

READ MORE: What next in the battle to reduce our addiction to plastic bags?

Extra deliveries

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According to the plant manager Paul Newby, the need for more rubbish is down to the fact that a larger proportion of plastic is being recycled and not thrown away. This trend has reduced the energy content of the waste, meaning the facility needs to process more waste to maintain the level of electricity it provides to the grid.

He said: "Since the David Attenborough programme people are recycling plastics more - that has caused a drop in the calorific value of the waste. so we have to process more waste, which in turn is a good thing as it isn't going to landfill."

Currently around 75% of the waste entering the plant comes from Suffolk, with the remainder coming from Norfolk and Essex. Under the plans, the additional waste would continue to come from this area with an estimated eight extra deliveries per day.

READ MORE: Councils working to win over stomachs and minds in the war against food waste

Information sessions

Chair of the community liaison committee for the plant, county councillor John Field, said the group had met earlier this week to discuss the changes.

He said: "We didn't see the slight increase in traffic as an issue and felt it is a small percentage of the traffic in the area and won't increase queuing times. It makes sense to use the spare capacity at the facility and the company has made the local population aware of its plans."

A number information sessions are being held at the plant on June 7 and 8 where people can find out more about the proposals.

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