Council to look at radical waste scheme

that offer alternative to landfill


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Council claims recycling hits records in the Borough

The council has announced that it is to investigate a revolutionary new method of waste disposal that could dramatically reduce the amount of non-recyclable refuse that is sent for landfill.

Councillors have approved plans to look into the possibility of using a technique called "PyroPure" to see if it can be used effectively to deal with non-recyclable waste produced on local housing estates - thus reducing the amount sent for landfill.

Diverting waste away from landfill - where it is essentially buried under the ground - is a key target imposed by the Government on all Britain's councils and waste authorities. This method of waste disposal is a major contributor to greenhouse gases and will effectively be outlawed by European Union rules over the next decade.

PyroPure is based on a technology called pyrolysis, which uses a combination of steam and heat inside a pressurised container in the absence of oxygen to reduce most household waste into carbon dust.

It is a technology that has been developed for the Royal Navy - which is testing it with a view to incorporating it into their on-board waste management systems. Naval warships and submarines are banned from dumping waste at sea.

Now the council is to investigate whether the system could be used on its housing estates. A pilot scheme will be launched on two estates - one high rise and one low rise - to ascertain whether the process would work where refuse is currently deposited into chutes and collected in large communal paladin storage bins. If the system works - almost 20,000 tonnes of refuse produced on the borough's housing estates each year could be diverted away from landfill.

Pyrolysis will not replace recycling. Card, paper and other 'dry' recyclables can still be put into orange sacks or recycling bins as at present. Furthermore, pyrolysis will not decompose glass or metal, so these would still be collected from the equipment and taken away for recycling. Pilot schemes for PyroPure could begin as soon as the Autumn and would be wholly funded by the company that manufactures the systems - Morgan Everett Ltd.

The unique containers that would be used in the process would replace the open topped paladins, thus eliminating all refuse smells and spillage from these large communal dustbins.

Executive member for environment and leisure Cllr Malcolm Grimston pictured left said:

"This is a radical new solution to the problem of the nation's ever growing waste mountain. Wandsworth is the only local authority in the country to be exploring its potential, but if it works, then every council will be clamouring to embrace this technology.

"It is a simple and effective process that has worked very well in the limited applications it has been used in until now. We want to see if it can be expanded to work on a bigger scale.

"Diverting waste away from landfill is a key priority. These landfill sites are a major contributory factor to global warming so it is important that we look to reduce the amount of waste we bury under the ground. If it can work on a larger scale then, coupled with increasing recycling efforts, it could play a major role in reducing harmful greenhouse gases."

Sue Clarke, Managing Director of Morgan Everett, added: “We are still in the early stages of our research and development but we know that applying technology to minimize non-recyclable waste is a big idea for all waste authorities.

"This is a “world first” in environmental technology so our development phase will continue for some time. We will provide regular updates on the success of our research as it progresses."

June 22, 2006