There is an urgent and growing focus on finding and implementing sustainable practices that can help alleviate the issues that are confronting an environment under increasing threat. At Seneca Resource Recovery – part of the Carey Group of companies – we are contributing to this search for sustainable solutions through our provision of a range of waste management and recovery services that helps to substantially conserve and reuse precious natural resources.
We specialise in the production, brokerage and international export of refuse-derived fuel (RDF). Essentially, we transform waste into RDF and then facilitate its transfer to energy from waste (EfW) facilities where it can then be used to generate heat and electricity – cleanly and efficiently.
The environmental benefits of creating RDF from waste and then utilising it as an energy source are multiple. To begin with, by repurposing household, industrial and commercial refuse in this way, we are able to prevent vast amounts of waste materials from ending up in landfills. Over time, this has the potential to substantially reduce the size and incidence of these open-air landfills, as well as the negative impacts associated with them, such as:
- Air pollution
- Biodiversity disruption
- Groundwater contamination
- Soil fertilisation abnormalities
Additionally, by turning waste into a viable fuel source – one which burns far more cleanly than traditional methods involving coal or fossil fuels – we have helped to unlock a sustainable, cheap and readily available means to supply power to an ever-growing percentage of homes and businesses.
The use of RDF as an energy generator could one day enable us to not only produce virtually limitless quantities of heat and electricity in a highly sustainable way, but also reduce our reliance on oil and gas. This would enable us to protect the environment from the harmful effects of extracting and burning these fossil fuels. It would also allow us to better conserve natural resources.
Our expertise and partnerships enable diversion of waste from local UK landfills
One of the effective waste and resource recovery solutions that Seneca has helped to pioneer in the UK involves our ability to leverage our carefully cultivated network of European EfW and transport partners in order to help divert significant amounts of household refuse from local landfills to be used as energy sources.
We first introduced this sustainable system of waste processing and repurposing in 2016, when we entered into a four-year contract with Norfolk County Council. Using the strong network of waste and energy sector contacts and relationships that we had built up over the years, we were able to offer our client a way to divert 30,000 tonnes of household residual waste per year from local landfills.
Our hard-won reputation and highly developed supply chain gave us the unrivalled capability to negotiate mutually beneficial partnerships in order to benefit our client. In this case, we established agreements with a trusted RDF-production firm in Norfolk and an EfW facility in Wijster, Netherlands. We were also able to set up a process to efficiently coordinate the complex movements of the RDF produced from the Norfolk household waste by calling upon the services of our skilled and reliable transport partners. Through the system we devised and implemented, we have been able to effectively manage the transformation of waste into RDF, as well as the export and final energy recovery processes – including securing the many necessary regulatory consents.
As a result of this collaborative solution – which Seneca has created and implemented for Norfolk County Council – we have delivered, to date, 100% landfill diversion for over 100,000 tonnes of Norfolk’s household waste. In addition to benefiting the Norfolk region by sustainably processing its waste material, this process has also helped to provide a clean source of energy for thousands of people.
This solution has proved to be so effective that we have already begun to replicate its success in other UK communities. In fact, we are also currently operating similar systems for local authorities in Norfolk and West Sussex.
Helping to build a robust, sustainable waste recovery capacity in the UK
The more that we can facilitate sustainable recovery and energy solutions – such as the ones we are providing for several local councils – the better, as methods such as these can greatly help to improve our sustainability levels and success rates across the UK.
The truth is that, despite a recent increase in recycling activities, the UK still sends over 10 million tonnes of waste to landfills across the country each year. This is directly due to the nation’s still-limited capacity to process waste more sustainably, which is partly due to a shortage of EfW plants. Until we construct and put online enough of these crucial facilities, these energy-efficient, environmentally friendly waste treatment options will remain in their infancy in the UK – often leaving local authorities and companies with little choice but to send waste to landfills.
Thankfully, in just the past few years, the industry has been working diligently to bring our resource recovery sector up to speed by constructing EfW plants at various sites throughout the country. Indeed, the amount of EfW facilities in the UK has increased appreciably over that time – rising from 26 in 2014 to 40 in 2017. The Carey Group has helped to build some of the most impressive of these EfW plants, including Millerhill in Edinburgh and Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire. We are currently contributing to the construction of the vast Lostock facility in Cheshire.
As more and more of these EfW facilities begin to go online, it is crucial to supply them with the RDF they require in order to be able to produce the sustainable energy that they are designed to generate. To that end, Seneca has already been proactively developing a portfolio of offtake contracts with EfWs within the UK, including those that are in the planning and build phases.
In this way, we are able to support the UK EfW sector as a trusted supply partner – one which also brings a well-established track record in the export market, should further RDF or resources be needed from overseas.
Just as environmental considerations become more critical around the globe, the UK is working diligently to provide the framework and infrastructure that can deliver enhanced sustainability options within its borders. Because of our wealth of experience and the strong partnerships that we have forged with regional players throughout the industry, Seneca is uniquely positioned to contribute significantly to the much-needed growth that is occurring in the UK’s resource recovery and sustainable energy sectors.
To find out more about our capabilities and the specialist services we provide, please click here.