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New capacity part of "larger jigsaw"

A waste management company is to implement equipment that will sort up to 70,000 tonnes annually, but harbours far greater ambitions.

The Dunstable Waste Group (DWG) has been thwarted by county planning officials in its attempts to build a new plant at a brownfield site in South Bedfordshire, but a new picking deck to be implemented at its existing premises in the area should push its recycling rate up to the 50% mark.

DWG managing director Robert Firbank said: Local authorities, companies and third parties tip at our site and at the moment we recycle 24-25% of the waste brought here, but the new equipment will help push the figure up to the 50% mark.

We will be able to sort thoroughly, taking streams such as cardboard, plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals out. With pressures such as landfill tax, this allows us to conserve landfill space and recoup increasing levels of value from waste.

The company sends streams to processors such as aluminium cans to Novelis. But while its efficiency will increase, Firbank suggests that the new equipment is a piece of a larger jigsaw.

He has become increasingly frustrated with council officials who have rejected plans for a new plant on a brownfield site, surrounded by trees and well away from public areas.

Waste management businesses right across the country seem to be manacled in where they can operate. The site we highlighted was a scrap heap that we tidied and could make something of it, but planners dont seem to want to encourage waste management companies and favour new housing developments instead. 

But 50,000 new homes mean 50,000 additional tonnes of waste and infrastructure needs to go in for dealing with that.

All Bedfordshire [council] seems to be interested in is municipal waste and councils in general seem to think that if they have sorted municipal waste, industrial waste isnt their problem.

They dont seem to be interested in getting the infrastructure in place for this although it makes up a far greater chunk of the pie in England, added Firbank.

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