Autoclave market takes off

Waste management firm Sterecycle has begun work on what it claims to be the first commercial-scale autoclave and recycling plant in Europe, to start operation by late 2008.

The Rotherham plant will process 100,000 tonnes of mixed household and light commercial waste a year, although the company has yet to sign contracts.

Autoclaving uses steam and elevated pressure to sterilise waste and reduce its volume by 60%-80%. It separates recyclates, leaving an organic fibre and stabilised waste suitable for landfill (ENDS Report 375, pp 20-21 ).

Sterecycle intends to build at least five plants in the UK over the next three years.

The announcement follows news that Graphite Resources has started work on a £30 million, 300,000-tonne capacity merchant facility in Derwenthaugh, which it plans to have operational by January 2009.

The firm received planning permission from Gateshead Council in 2005 but had problems finding finance until the government announced landfill tax hikes this year (ENDS Report 387, pp 4 ).

It too is planning another plant. On 21 September, it submitted a planning application to the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland for a 400,000 tonne capacity merchant site on Teesside.

  • In September, consultancy firm Juniper published reports analysing 300 waste treatment processes offered by firms.1 It concluded 43% of them have not been “proven” to work effectively.
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