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Cardiff Council

Cardiff Organic Waste Treatment Project

Sustainable waste management services are an essential component of the Council’s short, medium and long-term responses to the environmental and carbon reduction challenges facing Cardiff and Wales. The Welsh Government (WG) has committed to delivering a long- term transformation in the scale of recycling and sustainable waste management and has provided a blue print strategy for Wales to achieve a recycling rate of 70% by 2025 and a zero waste position by 2050. 

The ongoing shift from waste disposal from landfill to waste treatment and recycling is locked into national and local policy by legislation and statutory recycling targets, with potential failure fines of £200 per tonne. In addition, the European Landfill Directive sets stringent targets to reduce the amount of waste sent for disposal to landfill. Specific annual limits on the tonnes of biodegradable waste to landfill have been identified for each local authority within Wales via the Landfill Allowance Scheme (Wales) Regulation 2004, with further fiscal penalties of £200 per tonne, for every tonne of biodegradable waste landfilled above these limits.

Cardiff’s current recycling rate is around 50%. A key element in improving this performance relates to the segregated collection and treatment of food wastes and green wastes. Importantly material cannot be calculated and count as being ‘recycled’ until it has actually been processed, any minor contamination removed and a new product produced; recycling is not calculated from what has been collected.  It is essential therefore, that robust controls are in place to ensure high recycling of food waste and green waste is achieved after collections have taken place.  To encourage the public to recycle more, authorities to avoid both the financial penalties imposed by the Landfill Directive and penalties for failing Welsh Government’s Statutory Recycling Targets, noted above, a minimum of 58% recycling and composting must be achieved for the full year 2015/16, 64% by 2019/20 and 70% by 2024/25.

The Authority, in partnership with Vale of Glamorgan Council, set out to procure a long term Organic Waste Treatment solution in early 2012 to secure the sustainable treatment of its biodegradable food waste and green waste, to prevent it from being disposed of to landfill, and thereby reduce its impact on the environment and secure its contribution to Cardiff’s Municipal Waste Recycling and Composting targets.

A service contract has been procured, under competitive dialogue, for an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility and Open Windrow Composting (OWC) Facility to treat source-separated food and green/garden wastes respectively, over a 15 year period.  The project has been procured as part of the Welsh Government’s Food Waste Treatment Programme, which supports Councils with procurement funding and ongoing revenue support (for food waste recycling) in order to meet their statutory recycling targets between now and 2024/25.

Following an intensive competitive dialogue process and a rigorous Welsh Government “Health-Check” of the project in the summer of 2014, Kelda Organic Energy (Cardiff) Ltd have now been awarded the contract to construct and operate an Anaerobic Digestion and an Open Windrow facility in the city, with Planned Service Commencement in March 2017. Both facilities have already secured planning permission.

A City of Cardiff Council spokesperson said, “The signing of the contract with Kelda signifies a new 15 year partnership between Kelda, the City of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils to deliver innovative ways to treat organic waste. This contract is a reinforcement of our commitment to meet the statutory Welsh Government targets as we work towards their ‘Zero Waste’ goal for 2050. The new plant will use the latest technology that will not only treat and recycle the organic waste but will also produce sustainable sources of energy and growing medium for arable farming.’’

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council to deliver the organic waste treatment facilities. The facilities are a demonstration of our shared commitment to reducing waste, recycling and sustainability. The innovative technology developed by Kelda’s plant will produce clean energy from our residents’ kitchen waste. We now have a sustainable long term solution for composting Vale of Glamorgan’s organic waste.”

Kelda’s Business Commercial Director, Tom Hall said "We are delighted to sign this long term contract with Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils. When constructed, the two facilities will treat the Councils' food and green waste, generating renewable energy and a sustainable fertiliser recycled to local agriculture. We really look forward to continue to work with the Councils to increase recycling rates and support the Councils and Wales' commitment towards meeting reaching its zero waste target."