(Leicestershire, UK) -- The leader of Leicestershire county council marked the start of operations at New Earth Solutions' mechanical biological treatment facility at Lutterworth at an official ceremony last week.
The waste management and renewable energy specialist has developed the £15 million, 50,000 tonne-a-year capacity plant on an adjoining plot to Lafarge Aggregates' landfill site at Cotesbach in the south of the county.
Dorset-based New Earth has signed an agreement with Lafarge, which handles residual waste on behalf of Leicestershire county council, to treat 45,000 tonnes of ‘black bag' waste each year, with the remaining 5,000 tonnes-a-year capacity expected to be filled by other councils in the region.
At an opening ceremony attended by dignitaries and representatives of Lafarge and New Earth, Councillor David Parsons, leader of Leicestershire county council, welcomed the development.
He said: "Leicestershire has one of the best recycling and composting rates in the UK but there will always be rubbish leftover which has to be treated and disposed of. Combined with our drive to reduce, recycle and compost more, this new contract will enable us to meet the challenging targets to reduce waste to landfill and embrace pioneering technology."
The council leader also praised the proposal for being developed without any planning issues. He said the plant had received "no letters of objection, no protests, not anyone coming to me [complaining], and that is fantastic".
The Cotesbach MBT will be used to treat 45,000 tonnes-a-year of residual waste from Leicestershire county council and a further 5,000 tonnes-a-year from neighbouring councils.
At the Cotesbach site, household waste is delivered in refuse collection vehicles. The material is then dropped in a reception hall before going through mechanical sorting process to remove all recyclable material - such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals and plastics.
The remaining fraction, comprised of shredded card, textiles, crushed glass and paper, is then siphoned into a separate stream before being placed in large halls. The material is then left to biodegrade for nine weeks before being removed for maturation, which takes a further four weeks.
Once this process is complete the compost-like output (CLO), known as Nutri-9, can then be used on land remediation, for example, on restoring parts of Lafarge's landfill site.
The facility is the fourth MBT to be developed by New Earth and the first delivery of waste to the site comes in the same week that the company unveiled that work had started on its £25m MBT facility in Avonmouth - its largest development to date.
Chris Cox, managing director of New Earth, said: "We're delighted to be working with Leicestershire county council and Lafarge. This facility will demonstrate cutting edge waste equipment."
Andrew Bate, general manager of Lafarge, said "We are proud to be partnering with Leicestershire county council and New Earth Solutions in this innovative approach to managing waste that is not recycled at the kerbside."
New Earth had planning permission in place for the Cotesbach site in December 2009, and it is underpinned by a five year interim contract secured by Lafarge with Leicestershire county in 2008. The contract has the option to be extended for a further two years.
By Chris Sloley