One million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill at Trident Park ERF

A milestone one million tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfill at the Trident Park Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Cardiff.

Trident Park ERF has been owned by Viridor since 2015. With a capacity to generate low-carbon energy from 350,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste a year, the facility recently reached the milestone of having generated energy from one million tonnes of waste.

Of the waste to be processed at Trident Park, around 172,000 tonnes comes from Prosiect Gwyrdd (Project Green), a partnership of five Welsh councils: Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly.

Matt Wakelam, Senior Responsible Officer for the Prosiect Gwyrdd Partnership said: “The partnership was set up to find a long-term sustainable solution to waste that cannot be practically recycled and composted to ensure that we no longer needed to send waste to landfill.

“The partnership is delivering the strategic aims that have been set, as we now recover green energy from this waste, as well as ensuring that the two by-products from the process – bottom ash and air pollution control residue – are both recycled.

Viridor’s Commercial Director, Paul Ringham, said: “Diverting a million tonnes of waste which cannot be recycled is an achievement which must be recognised. Taking this one step further and using this material to generate low carbon power and contribute to resource and energy efficiency is an important goal but we know there is still more we can do.

“Trident Park, like all the energy recovery facilities in the Viridor fleet, is a combined heat and power plant and we are delighted to be working with Cardiff City Council to ensure that the heat generated by Prosiect Gwyrdd’s non-recyclable waste will support a future Cardiff Heat Network.”

Viridor’s Head of Contracts (South West and Wales), Patrick Murray, who worked with Prosiect Gwyrdd to develop the initial contract, said: “The success of this ongoing relationship is based on shared values about attaching a real value to all waste, recycling all we can and putting the remainder to work through energy recovery and making a real contribution to the community.”

This milestone moment comes after Viridor’s recent sale to KKR and unprecedented pressure on recycling services during Covid-19, which resulted in Cardiff Council temporarily incinerating recyclables at Trident Park ERF.

However, in recent years, Viridor has stepped up its approach to plastic recycling, having announced plans last year to process all plastic waste domestically, as well as the opening of a new multi-polymer plastic recycling plant in Avonmouth.

Viridor’s approach was praised by many in the industry at an event this year, during which representatives from local authorities, reprocessors, packaging manufacturers, retailers and NGOs discussed how plastic waste across the South West and south Wales could be recycled locally.

The ERF at Trident Park has also hosted over 5,500 visitors at its Visitors’ Centre and has distributed Community Fund grants worth around £198,000 to local groups – something Murray cited as a particular source of pride for Viridor.

Murray added: “Together Viridor and Prosiect Gwyrdd have created a valuable and well-utilised education centre where future generations are taught the value of recycling as well energy recovery. It is here that many people hear about the waste hierarchy – and the need to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover – for the first time.”