Re­cy­clable waste sent 800 miles to Nether­lands

Pol­i­tics: This flies in face of cli­mate change com­mit­ments, say Greens

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY JON HEBDITCH AND ROS­SANA FERRITO

Re­cy­cled waste pro­duced in Aberdeen trav­els as far as 860 miles to get fully pro­cessed af­ter un­der­go­ing ini­tial pro­ce­dures in a new city fa­cil­ity, it has emerged.

Aberdeen house­holds pro­duce over 96,000 tonnes of waste ev­ery year.

And roughly two-thirds of it is sent to the Al­tens East re­cy­cling and re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity.

The plant, run by Suez on be­half of Aberdeen City Coun­cil, opened last Oc­to­ber and pro­cesses up to 60,000 tonnes a year.

It effectively helps the city to meet the Scot­tish Govern­ment re­cy­cling tar­get.

It also saves res­i­dents in the re­gion up to £6mil­lion a year in land­fill tax.

But a lo­cal politi­cian has crit­i­cised the process as a list of even­tual des­ti­na­tions for the waste was re­vealed through Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion leg­is­la­tion.

The ma­te­rial is di­vided into re­cy­clable and non­re­cy­clable upon ar­rival at Al­tens East, with non-re­cy­clable waste turned into fos­sil fu­els by the refuse de­rived fuel fa­cil­ity lo­cated next to the main plant.

It has emerged, how­ever, that other items such as glass, fer­rous metals, pa­per, card­board and plas­tic un­dergo fur­ther separation and com­pres­sion pro­cesses.

At the end of this they are sent to other fa­cil­i­ties around the UK and even as far as Arn­hem in the Nether­lands to be given a new life.

Though the process is un­der­stood to be fairly com­mon­place, the lo­cal branch of the Green Party said it was deeply un­happy about the treat­ment of waste in the city.

Co-con­vener Guy Inger­son said: “A £150mil­lion in­cin­er­a­tor is be­ing con­structed, which we be­lieve will act as a dis­in­cen­tive to re­cy­cling and is a colos­sal waste of money at a time of cuts.

“It also en­dan­gers lo­cal pub­lic health with diox­ins, acidic gases and heavy metals.

“On top of this white ele­phant we are send­ing our re­cy­cled prod­ucts to as far away as the Nether­lands.

“This flies in the face of our cli­mate change and other en­vi­ron­men­tal com­mit­ments.

“Scot­tish com­pa­nies should be pri­ori­tised as part of a wider in­dus­trial strat­egy, work­ing in part­ner­ship with the Scot­tish Govern­ment.

“It is time this ad­min­is­tra­tion took its fin­gers out of its ears.”

Al­tens East re­cy­cling and re­source fa­cil­ity pro­duc­tion op­er­a­tion man­ager Colin For­shaw, how­ever, hailed the in­crease in the city’s re­cy­cling.

He said: “It re­ally is en­cour­ag­ing to see that the re­cy­cling rate in Aberdeen has in­creased by 25% since the roll-out of the new re­cy­cling ser­vice 12 months ago and the open­ing of our new state-of-the-art re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity in Al­tens East.”

“Scot­tish firms should be a pri­or­ity as part of a wider strat­egy”

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