Why is the waste going to the facility not being recycled?

Northacre would only treat residual waste.

The Government strategy document ‘EfW a Guide to the Debate’ (2014) defines residual waste as follows: “Residual waste is mixed waste that cannot be usefully reused or recycled. It may contain materials that could theoretically be recycled, if they were perfectly separated and clean, but these materials are currently too contaminated for recycling to be economically or practically feasible. It may also be that there is currently no market for the material or it is uneconomic to take to market. An alternative way of describing residual waste is ‘mixed waste which at that point in time would otherwise go to landfill.”

It is right that society aims to achieve very high levels of recycling. But the reality is that in Wiltshire and across England waste recycling rate has now have now plateaued over the past seven years at about 44%. This is because most waste collection and disposal authorities have rolled out most of the available initiatives to encourage households to recycle their waste. Both the means and money to further boost recycling is limited.

Expert analysis[1] of the UK residual waste treatment market, including modelling the measures set out in the English Strategy (‘Our Waste, Our Resources; A Strategy for England’) aimed at increasing recycling and detailed analysis of other European countries (including those with the highest recycling levels), shows that under a central (Median) scenario, the overall English household waste recycling rate is projected to rise to 50.1% in 2035.[2] The analysis concludes that the delta between political aspirations (as expressed by indicative ‘goals’ and soft targets) and the overall ability to deliver them has potentially never been so great.

With regard to business waste, current recycling levels are typically higher than household waste.  Forecasts are that business waste recycling rates will rise broadly in line with household rates. Thus, there will be modest growth in recycling.

Accordingly, and as outlined above, not all waste will be recycled and thus there will always be a need for residual waste treatment facilities. Current expert forecast is that, even with increased recycling, there will be a shortfall on residual waste treatment capacity of approximately 7million tonnes in 2035 (across the UK).

Forecasted recycling levels have been taken into consideration in the sizing of the Northacre facility.

[1] By Tolvik Consulting, widely recognised as the leading independent consultancy in market analysis of the UK waste and bioenergy sector

[2] ‘Filling the Gap – The Future for Residual Waste in the UK’ (Tolvik Consulting February 2019)