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Putting waste to good use in Suffolk

SUEZ is working with Suffolk County Council to divert residual household waste from landfill and put it to good use.

The mission

To divert household waste from landfill

Suffolk is one of the best areas in the country for recycling, with a household waste recycling rate of over 50%. However, this still left thousands of tonnes of household waste – plus business waste – going to landfill.

Suffolk’s waste that can’t be reused or recycled is converted into energy at the new energy-from-waste facility we opened in 2014.

Our solution

A new facility for Suffolk

We built and manage a new energy-from-waste facility in Suffolk that saves at least £350 million over the life of the contract compared with sending waste to landfill and reduces greenhouse gases by 75,000 tonnes a year over the life of the project (according to Environment Agency calculations).

The facility began operating in December 2014 and has a capacity of 269,000 tonnes of waste a year, which is enough to deal with household waste from across Suffolk, plus some business waste.

By diverting waste from landfill, recovering valuable energy from the waste left after recycling and reducing the county’s dependence on fossil fuels, the facility also supports SUEZ’s aim to live in a society where there is no more waste and Suffolk County Council’s ambition to make Suffolk the greenest county.

The results

The Suffolk energy-from-waste facility uses the waste left after recycling – from homes and some businesses across Suffolk – to generate enough electricity to power 30,000 homes, reducing the amount of Suffolk’s waste that goes to landfill and the associated cost to council taxpayers.

The process allows for greater recycling – the ash, produced from burning the waste, is processed on site and used as an aggregate for road building. Metals are also extracted from the ash and recycled.

The Suffolk energy-from-waste facility was designed by award-winning architects, Grimshaw, best known for designing the Eden Project in Cornwall.

The building holds an ‘outstanding’ rating from BREEAM (Buildings Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), achieved by less than 2% of two million buildings they have assessed. This scheme measures a building’s environmental performance.

The facility has won three more national awards – two for the building and the other for the team running the facility.

In autumn 2016, the facility won the top prize for sustainability in the Blueprint Awards 2016, which celebrate the very best in world architecture and design.  It was also one of 45 projects recognised in the 2016 Civic Trust awards which celebrate the best in architecture and projects that benefit their local communities, described by the judges as ‘a striking innovation in industrial architecture.’

The team at Suffolk were also awarded the PEEL People’s Cup by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM). This award is given to the best operating team of the year. It is recognition that a successful waste operation is heavily dependent on its staff – the people at the sharp end, who play such a critical role in the success of the operation.

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