Technology may beat impending landfill woe

PUBLISHED: 11:36 06 October 2006 | UPDATED: 12:02 04 May 2010

A looming county-wide rubbish crisis may be avoided if a new eco-friendly facility is built at an A10 landfill site. The county council has given Donarbon Ltd preferred bidder status to recycle millions of tonnes of waste with a hi-tech mechanical biologi

A looming county-wide rubbish crisis may be avoided if a new eco-friendly facility is built at an A10 landfill site.

The county council has given Donarbon Ltd preferred bidder status to recycle millions of tonnes of waste with a hi-tech mechanical biological treatment (MBT) centre at its Waterbeach site, in a bid to curb the county's soaring waste problem.

Cllr John Reynolds, cabinet member for environment and community services, said the number of new homes built has meant the amount of waste has continued to grow.

"Reducing the amount of rubbish that is landfilled through reducing, re-using and recycling is vital and we will continue to make this our main aim," he said.

"However, waste treatment technologies also have a part to play in reducing landfill."

Donarbon beat off competition from two other bidders to secure the backing of the county council with the new technology, which treats mixed waste by mechanically removing some materials and biologically treating others. A compost-like by-product which can be used again is produced and the remaining material can be landfilled with less environmental impact than untreated waste.

Although Cambridgeshire tops recycling leagues and has been awarded Beacon Council status with its district council partners for its efforts, the county still spends more than £7m every year to bury untreatable waste. The pressure looks set to increase in 2010, when new legislation will mean councils can be fined £150 for each tonne over strict landfill targets.

And the council's problems are compounded by Government pressure to take more of London's waste on East Cambridgeshire's landfill sites - something that has angered waste chiefs, who believe the Government is taking advantage of the district's excellent recycling track record.

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