Glasgow enters new recycling era with official opening of city waste and renewable energy hub

Glasgow enters new recycling era with official opening of city waste and renewable energy hub
The Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy centre (GRREC) at Polmadie on the south side of Glasgow has been officially opened by Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow City Council.

The site is the first of its kind in Scotland and will be operated by Viridor on behalf of Scotland’s largest local authority. Using state-of-the-art technology, over 200,000 tonnes of the city's waste will be diverted from landfill every year and used to generate enough electricity to power 26,496 homes.

The project will be delivered through a 25-year partnership between Viridor, the biggest UK-owned recycling and energy recovery company, and the city council.

The GRREC has the ability to extract recyclable material from general waste and boost Glasgow's overall recycling rates, diverting 90% of all council waste from landfill and saving 90,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Today marks a historic milestone for Glasgow as it becomes a leader in recycling and renewable energy technology. 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.

"Our commitment to the GRREC demonstrates how the council will work with Viridor and our partners in the coming years to ensure Glasgow can take further major steps towards becoming the most sustainable city in Europe.”

Phil Piddington, Managing Director at 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. This new plant is an environmental success story and provides a massive carbon reduction bonus for the city as we play our part in efforts to tackle climate change.”

The GRREC comprises of three main technologies under one roof:

  • A smart recycling facility extracting recyclable material from general waste to create a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) which can be further processed to release energy
  • An anaerobic digestion facility using bacteria to break down organic waste and release methane for fuel to generate renewable electricity
  • An Advanced Conversion Facility (ACF), which heats the RDF creating a gas which is captured and combusted to generate steam which powers a turbine to generate renewable electricity exported to the national grid.

The GRREC in numbers:

  • The GRREC site covers 17 acres – the equivalent of 14 football pitches
  • Enough energy will be produced to power nearly 26,500 households each year
  • 200,000 tonnes of green bin residual waste processed – almost 16,000 London buses
  • Creation of 18 new apprenticeships and 250 jobs
  • Delivers a saving to Glasgow of 90,000 tonnes of CO² every year