Tuesday, 01 December 2020

New £1.3m plant to treat road sweepings

ROAD sweepings from across Oxfordshire will be processed at a new £1.3million treatment plant near Ewelme.

ROAD sweepings from across Oxfordshire will be processed at a new £1.3million treatment plant near Ewelme.

It is hoped the centre operated by Grundon will boost recycling rates and help cut costs for Oxfordshire County Council.

Once fully operational, the plant will be able to process about 25,000 tonnes of road sweepings a year, or 10 tonnes an hour.

About 5,000 tonnes of sweepings a year are collected from Oxfordshire’s roads by operators working for each of the five district councils.

In 2012, the Environment Agency banned the composting of street leaf sweepings because of concerns about the high levels of contaminants such as nickel, copper and zinc.

This left many councils worried about the impact on their recycling rates and having to find alternative disposal methods for the waste. Oxfordshire County Council is one of the top-performing councils for recycling in the country.

Rebecca Harwood, service delivery manager at the council’s waste management group, said: “After the legislation changed, we had to send some road sweeper waste to landfill while the remainder went to an alternative facility outside the county.

“Obviously we were very keen to look for alternatives which would be closer to home and more environmentally friendly. Grundon’s new facility is not only very impressive but offers the capability to handle all of the county’s road sweeper waste in one central place.

“We see it as a win-win situation as using the facility is half the cost of sending waste to landfill and we’re also cutting down on transport costs and carbon emissions.

“Above all, it’s the fact that Grundon is able to recycle and recover all elements of the sweepings that makes the biggest difference. We anticipate this will help us boost our recycling performance rates by nearly two per cent.”

Operators acting for South Oxfordshire District Council and the four other councils will deliver their road sweepings to the plant.

Owen George, tender manager at Grundon, said: “Oxfordshire County Council has been very supportive throughout the development stages of the project and we’re delighted to be able to play our own part in helping the county fly the flag for excellence in recycling and recovery of waste.”

As the plant’s capacity increases, Grundon plans to work with other local authorities and private contractors.

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