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Viridor upgrades recycling operation

Post Time:Feb 13,2012Classify:Company NewsView:333

WASTE management firm Viridor is to turn its facility near Edinburgh into one of the world’s most advanced glass recycling plants.


A £6 million mechanised sorting system will allow its facility at Bonnyrigg, near Edinburgh, to process 40 per cent more glass, separating it by colour so that it can be re-used by whisky firms and other food and drink manufacturers.


Viridor, part of the FTSE 250 Pennon Group, now has £500m earmarked for investment in Scotland in the next five years on the back of the Scottish Government’s zero waste plan to make councils, public bodies and businesses recycle their waste.


Chief executive Colin Drummond said Scotland accounts for a disproportionately large chunk of the company’s spending plans – a third of its total to 2017 – because of the Scottish Government’s ambitious target to recycle 70 per cent of waste by 2025, and send less than 5 per cent to landfill.


With more contracts expected to be tendered, the firm estimates it will eventually invest about £800m in Scotland’s next generation of waste management infrastructure – more than half of a total £1.5 billion bill to meet the new standards.


“We are already Scotland’s biggest recycling and waste company and we have a lot of plans we are taking forward,” Drummond said. He said Viridor will fund the projects from its own balance sheet, as that is the best way to get facilities built quickly – although they may be re-financed later.


The process is likely to create thousands of jobs, because sorting, recycling and incinerating waste is much more labour intensive than landfilling, he said. It will also save local authorities money because they will avoid punitive landfill taxes, set to rise to £64 per tonne on 1 April.


The move to re-use waste has already transformed Viridor. Drummond says that in 2000 it was “basically a landfill company”. Since then it has moved from recycling 100,000 tonnes of material to two million, and has entered the energy market with incinerators generating electricity for the grid.


In Glasgow, the company is spending £150m on a facility to sort the city’s waste, recycling some of it and burning the rest, either directly or after gasification, to generate electricity. It has also recently signed a contract with NHS Lanarkshire to sort and recycle a variety of rubbish at its Bargeddie plant, and is planning to build a £200m energy-from- waste plant near Dunbar.


The Bonnyrigg investment will see a system of “electronic eyes” introduced that will sort glass on a conveyor belt using jets of air. The plant, acquired from family firm MacGlass in 2003, currently supplies recycled material to Scottish insulation maker Superglass. Following the upgrade, it will be able to recycle 140,000 tonnes of mixed glass to a standard high enough to be re-used by the food and drink industry.


Source: www.scotsman.comAuthor: shangyi

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