A decade ago, Paco Hevia, the Managing Director of Amey’s Waste Treatment Division, came over to the UK from Spain to work on the Allerton Waste Recovery Park in North Yorkshire. In that time, the plant went from being an idea on paper to being a fully functioning operational facility.
Since taking on his role in Amey’s waste team, Paco has made dealing with residual waste a top priority – this is the waste that cannot be recycled, re-used, or composted. At present there is an obvious capacity gap in the UK in this area. Amey’s plans for a new waste treatment facility at Waterbeach will help to address this gap and assist in the eventual goal of the UK becoming self-sufficient in waste disposal.
Residual waste can be used to create energy, known as refuse-derived fuel (RDF). At present the UK exports just under 3 million tonnes of material each year that is used to produce RDF. In a recent interview with Materials Recycling World, Paco acknowledged that UK RDF exporters would prefer their material to be treated in UK facilities, rather than having to export it. New Energy from Waste facilities would help to enable this, allowing the UK to create energy from the residual waste – the new plant at Waterbeach alone could potentially heat up to 63,000 homes and would stop this waste from having to go to landfill, an outcome that nobody wants.
Whilst dealing with residual waste is a top priority for Amey, increasing recycling rates is vital too. As Paco noted in his interview with MRW, “we are separating about 50% of our waste for recycling. Only a small fraction of that gets recycled in the UK and the rest is exported to other economies. There is a recycling gap as much as a capacity gap in the UK, and the recycling gap needs to be filled.”