Resource Use

New recycling and renewable energy centre opened in Glasgow

Conveyor belts in GRREC recycling facility
Inside the GRREC where state-of-the-art technology aims to divert Glasgow's waste from landfill
The Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) has just opened at Polmadie on the south side of Glasgow.

Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, officially opened the centre and commented that the GRREC will “transform the way in which we manage waste in our city and will be crucial to helping us deliver against the ban on municipal waste going to landfill due to come into effect in 2021.”

Three technologies under one roof

Operated by recycling and energy recovery company Viridor, which has signed a 25-year contract with the city council, the 17-acre GRREC will use three main types of state-of-the art technology to divert 200,000 tonnes of Glasgow’s waste from landfill each year, generating enough electricity to power 26,496 homes.

The recycling facility will extract recyclable material from general waste in order to turn the non-recyclable leftovers into refuse-derived fuel (RDF). It is hoped that, in this way, 90 per cent of the city’s council waste will be diverted from landfill, saving 90,000 tonnes of CO² each year.

Anaerobic digestion technology will use bacteria to break down organic waste, releasing methane for fuel to generate renewable energy.

Finally, an Advanced Conversion Facility (ACF) will heat the refuse derived fuel, creating a gas that can be captured and combusted to generate steam to turn a turbine, generating renewable electricity that can be exported to the national grid. This could help towards Glasgow’s targets to increase the number of homes in the city powered by renewable or circular energy to 15 per cent by 2030.

Glasgow is at the heart of Scotland’s ambitions to create a circular economy, with initiatives looking to improve sustainability in all areas – from a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles, to Cup Movement, a coffee cup recycling project.

Circular Glasgow, an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, is a movement connecting these projects and companies across the city to pose a ‘direct challenge to the current “take, make, dispose” linear economy mentality.’

Commenting on the opening of the GRREC, Phil Piddington, Managing Director of Viridor, said: "The GRREC epitomises Viridor's vision of attaching a real purpose to all waste – separating valuable recyclable material, food and organic waste and giving waste which cannot be recycled a crucial role in generating low carbon electricity. In this way, we contribute to Glasgow and Scotland's goals in terms of both resource and energy efficiency, translating ambition into action and achievement.”

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