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Tower Hamlets could see recycling jump to 80%

The development of a new autoclave facility could see recycling and recovery rates in Tower Hamlets leap from 3% to as much as 80%.

The plant will take household waste from the London borough, which will be delivered to the site in sealed containers using sustainable river transport.

London Thames Gateway Development Corporation has given Cleanaway permission to develop the facility at its existing Rainham landfill site with a further 22 to 26 mainly local jobs being created as a result.

A process that will use steam under pressure to sterilise the waste and reduce its volume will be used, with the steam produced using exhaust heat from the nearby landfill gas generators re-used throughout the process and not vented to atmosphere.

The main by product from this process will be a flake-like sterile material called floc that can be re-used in various ways, including on landfill restoration and in recycled paper and board products.

A Cleanaway spokesman said: “I think these days most people know that Government targets for recycling and diverting biologically active waste away from landfill will not be met just by householders separating out their recyclables.

“Further treatment of some sort is needed and this is what our autoclave process does – in a clean way, which is not incineration. The process recycles and recovers up to 80% of the input.”

With no impact on air quality, Cleanaway will also continue to honour its long term commitment to progressively restore the landfill for nature conservation and controlled public access to the agreed timetable of 2018.

The spokesman added: “River transport, generation of sustainable energy by using exhaust gases from the existing landfill gas generators, continuous re-use of the steam, recycling of rainwater for processing and several options for using the floc on and off site all add up to a very sustainable package.”

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