18 September 2007

Tyne and Wear Waste Managers Considering Anaerobic Digestion Option

Anaerobic digestion considered for Tyne and Wear:

Anaerobic digestion is one of the options up for strong consideration to treat residual waste across South Tyne and Wear.

The South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership made up of three councils in the region - Gateshead Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council - aims to tackle the region's 370,000 tonnes of household waste a year (see letsrecycle.com story).

Defra has already given the councils the go-ahead to draw up plans for residual waste treatment facilities to secure Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding credits (see letsrecycle.com story).

Before doing so, the partnership has decided to launch a public consultation on its Draft Joint Municipal Waste Strategy to ask residents for their views, not only on residual waste treatment but also on recycling, composting, reuse and waste minimisation.

This is with the aim of diverting as much waste from landfill as possible and to increase recycling rates. In 2005/06 - the most recent year audited by Defra - the recycling rates for Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland - were 20%, 21% and 19% respectively. All three councils met government-set targets.

Project director Fiona Brown said: "Three councils are coming together to work in partnership and produce a joint strategy on an issue that will impact on everybody. This consultation process will help to deliver a more efficient service around the management and treatment of waste.

"We really want residents to have their say on how to handle rubbish in the future and help us come up with solutions that are more sustainable and better for the environment," she added.

It has assessed nine options for residual waste treatment using a range of criteria.

These are:

- Anaerobic digestion (AD) of biodegradable wastes
- AD of all wastes
- Mechanical Biological Treatment with Refuse Derived Fuel to EfW
- MBT with RDF to landfill
- Autoclave
- EfW
- Alterative Thermal Treatment (ATT)
- Aerobic digestion
- EfW with CHP

In its consultation document, council officers said autoclaving - where waste is cooked at high temperatures was cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and had high recycling rates. For more at LetsRecycle click on the title.

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