Southend waste to power homes

A trail-blazing scheme will see Southend rubbish used to power homes in an ambitious plan which could save the taxpayer £2m.

Southend Council has hired waste management company SUEZ to handle its non-recyclable waste and turn it into energy at a state-of-the-art facility in Suffolk.

Previously, the council had to send all its black sack rubbish to landfill after the £100million Tovi Eco Park, mechanical biological treatment plant in Courtauld Road, Basildon, was shut down.

Thanks to new technology, SUEZ converts the waste that cannot be reused or recycled into energy, which will dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of the city’s non-recyclable waste.

SUEZ is able to extract secondary raw materials, such as metals, plastic and wood, from general waste at its sorting and treatment plant.

Paul Collins, Lib Dem councillor responsible for asset management and inward investment, said: “Energy from waste is a much more environmental and efficient alternative to landfill, which produces energy for the national grid, and the on-site recycling facility uses the leftover ash to make secondary aggregate products for road building and construction.

“Along with this, the new contract provides a big cost saving too, which is vital as we grapple with our own financial challenge and support our communities with the cost-of-living crisis.

“Council officers will now work closely with SUEZ over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition. This change in the end destination of our waste will not affect residents’ collections, and residents should put out their pink recycling sacks, paper and cardboard box, food waste bin and black sacks on their usual collection day.”

The majority of residual waste is put to good use and the facility then generates electricity to power homes and businesses across the country.

The new contract, which is for five years with the possibility to extend, will save around £2million over its lifetime.

The new contract does not affect the current contract with the council’s waste collection, recycling and street cleansing partner, Veolia.

Amanda Padfield, director of public sector development for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said: “We look forward to partnering with Southend Council over the next five years, using our regional network to help divert more waste away from landfill in the East of England.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter