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Veolia progress on contaminated paper product

Veolia says it has a “secure” outlet for the innovative recycling of contaminated paper that would otherwise be sent to landfill or for energy recovery.

Progress on Pro-Fibre, unveiled by the company in December 2014, was reported by chief executive Estelle Brachlianoff at a briefing on the company’s partnership with Leeds City Council, which early next year sees the commissioning of a new energy-from-waste (EfW) plant.

The event highlighted opportunities for creating local aspects of the circular economy, including a possible district heating scheme in the city based on the EfW plant.

Brachlianoff said Pro-Fibre would not have been possible two years ago but there was now a sound business case, with the pulped material being used in the manufacture of products such as coffee cup holders.      

Veolia technical director Richard Kirkman said valid samples had been produced and the company had a “secure” outlet for the product.

Brachlianoff said Pro-Fibre was among several research projects in which the company had invested. It had been suggested by an employee at an ‘innovation session’ similar to the BBC’s Dragons’ Den.

“This is not high-quality paper but it is great to use this paper, better than landfill,” she told the meeting.

The same event was told by regional director Phil Gilmour that work on the new EfW plant, which had been underway for 26 months, was due to be commissioned in March 2016.

It will have a capacity of 214,000 tonnes a year and will also recover at least 10% of residual waste as recyclates.

Neil Evans, Leeds council director of environment and housing, said the project was the culmination of a seven-year partnership with Veolia.

He said it had been difficult at first to persuade local politicians and the public but they could now see the community benefits.

The facility will boast an 1,800sq m vertical ‘living wall’ of plants, said to be the largest in Europe. Species local to the area are being grown off-site prior to planting on the wall shortly.

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