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In Focus: Packington trivia

Open all hours: Packington used to pride itself on being the landfill site that never closed, and was open whatever weather with the exception of large storms. While it had set opening hours, it was an emergency site for a lot of nearby councils. So if a lorry turned over on the motorway in the early hours of the morning and the mess had to be cleared up, it would open at 2am or whenever it was needed.

Close community: Over the years, Packington developed its own distinct community feel and sense of loyalty among staff and customers. This led to the naming of different parts of the site after past and present staff and customers. For example, Tom’s Lake was named after Tommy Richardson, who once owned the biggest skip company in Birmingham and whose ashes were scattered on the landfill when he died.

Stable workforce: Some staff spent their whole working lives at the site. This has allowed the company to ‘mine’ their memories for a social history of the site. They have also offered a technical insight, which means the business has been able to understand what was done in the past when record keeping was less prevalent.

Waste composition: Packington was once visited by a ‘garbologist’ from the US, who was trying to understand how waste in landfill degraded and was looking at the composition of material going in. As the landfill was a hill above ground, this was easier than for a site where a hole in the ground was being filled in.

Other operations: Composting was introduced at the site in 2004 and now almost 50,000 tonnes a year of green waste is turned into compost products for use on local farms and other agricultural projects. In 2008, wood shredding was started, turning up to 70,000 tonnes of waste wood a year into a range of biofuel products. Packington has planning permission for a dry anaerobic digestion plant, but its development hinges on municipal contracts.

Other users: In addition to the landfill operation, the site has been used by a diverse number of groups, from the bee keepers of Warwickshire, who had hives on the site and produced Tip’ony Honey, to the fire brigade who used to practise four-wheel driving on the old quarry pits.  

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