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WRG unveils plans to become a leading waste treatment technology provider

Waste Recycling Group (WRG), a waste management company historically focused on landfill, has revealed that it is developing its business to become a leading waste treatment technology provider in order to take advantage of the current legislative drives to create a ‘greener’ society.

WRG plans to provide a complete range of waste treatment technologies including materials recycling facilities, anaerobic digestion (AD) , energy from waste (EfW) through incineration and gasification, mechanical biological treatment (MBT), in-vessel composting  and landfill across the UK.

It is a business move which it estimates will require an investment of £1.5bn over the next ten years, so it will capitalise on the expertise of its parent company FCC, which already provides a range of waste treatment facilities across Europe.

The new strategy proposes that the company collects more waste through its existing waste collection sister company Focsa. This will be treated by firstly recycling as much material as possible, then sending the remaining waste to a waste treatment facility which will produce energy through electricity or biogas. Landfill will be the last option for any waste that simply cannot be treated in these ways. WRG will build ‘eco-parks’ to carry out this process, which will house more than one waste treatment facility on the same site.

Waste treatment facilities will be built on WRG’s landfill sites of which it owns 126 that are at varying stages of activity.This builds on WRG’s announcement with FCC earlier this year that it is to build wind turbines on some of its landfill sites.

Chief executive Paul Taylor said: “We have some really good assets. The business has grown in its lifetime by acquiring landfill, but we have a really good asset-base because we have lots of land with an established need for handling material. But it is a challenge because our historical reliance on landfill means we have a bigger shift to make than some of our competitors might.”

The plans are part of Spanish-based FCC ‘s strategic plan to reposition itself as a global business, one of the reasons it originally bought WRG. The aim is to bring WRG and Focsa much closer together, so FCC, WRG and Focsa are recognised as being the same company but will still retain their different brand names. Already, FCC has merged WRG’s and Focsa’s key corporate services such as human resources, health and safety and IT services.

Taylor added: “We’re not saying we will rename the company but we have to behave as one company and recognise the strength that FCC gives us. We are where we are and we are able to change because we have got FCC backing us.

 “The services we provide is FCC’s business in the UK, which is absolutely at the core of FCC’s global strategy and we’re pretty key to meeting FCC’s future plans.”

Taylor explained issues such as the Government’s aim to become a ‘zero waste society’, legislation to meet recycling targets, the high cost of landfilling combined with energy policy driving a demand for renewable power, means it is a huge opportunity for FCC to move into providing a solution for this. Going forward, private finance initiatives will be key to securing long-term material volumes, as will more of a focus on commercial and industrial waste.

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