Black bag waste could be incinerated when landfill shuts gates

BLACK bag waste in Swansea could be incinerated when the city’s only landfill site shuts its gates.

Operations at Tir John, Port Tennant, are contracted to a third party until 2022.

One of the options when Tir John is full is a regional facility to deal with non-recyclable black bag rubbish, which could be used by several councils.

However, a report going before a council scrutiny panel on November 9 said all options for a regional black bag solution have been “exhausted”.

The report said a priority was now to procure an “energy from waste” contractor from January 2022.

This is likely to mean transporting black bag waste to an established incinerator outside of Swansea which generates energy from burning waste. This would come with its own costs – but burying rubbish in landfill sites is very expensive.

Ash generated by energy from waste plants counts as recycled material, which would bump up Swansea’s annual recycling percentage by around 6% if it went down this route.

The report said: “The council continues to send the highest percentage of residual waste to landfill, as opposed to energy from waste, in Wales.

“This again is solely due to the fact that we are one of the few local authorities who still run a landfill site, with most sending waste for incineration.”

Tir John will be capped and landscaped once it’s full, with part of the 107-acre site developed into a solar farm.

It currently accepts around 37,000 tonnes of residual waste per year, including some commercial waste, although the tonnage has been decreasing because householders recycle and compost more.

Latest figures for 2019-20 show that Swansea recycled and composted just under 65% of its waste, which was 2.1% more than the previous year.

The figure provisionally puts Swansea 13th in the recycling league out of Wales’s 22 councils – this despite the report saying recycling rates were adversely affected by the city’s sizeable student population and large number of flats and high-density housing, where there is less room to store bottles, cans and cardboard.

Waste chiefs at Swansea plan to keep hammering home the recycling message, roll out a nappy collection service, and reopen the re-use shop at the Llansamlet household waste and recycling site.

Residents can help by putting out the right products for collection, and trying to make sure paper and cardboard is dry to maintain its quality.

The waste service costs around £19.8 million per year, but £5.4 million is clawed back from commercial contracts and the sale of certain recyclable products. In addition, the Welsh Government chips in around £1.2 million in grants.

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