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York waste to be used to generate electricity

Off-Campus houses will no longer have their general waste sent to landfill, and instead will be sent to be burned for electricity, in a move described as a “significant moment in York’s history.”The City of York Council have changed their waste streams, closing the now-former landfill site at Harewood Whin, near Rufforth, which will over time be made into a wildflower meadow, with the Council hoping to encourage plants and animals into the area.

General waste will now be sent to the Allerton Waste Recovery Park, near Knaresborough by Yorwaste, the Council’s waste operator. The plant can accommodate up to 320 000 tonnes of waste every year, while burning the waste from the city will generate enough energy to power 40 000 homes in the area.

The University of York, which contracts out its waste management to Yorwaste, already sends all its general waste to Allerton, with none of the waste from campus going to landfill. Switching to waste recovery will save York tax-payers around £53mn over the next 25 years. The Allerton site, which also offers mechanical treatment and anaerobic digestion, used to accommodate food waste, creates energy by producing steam from burning the waste. The change in the management of general waste in the city comes as part of the Council’s continual renewal of their environmental practices.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for the Environment, said: “Diverting waste from landfill is a step in the right direction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental issues. Our new facilities maximise mechanical separation of waste for recycling, and digestion of food and other organic waste before using waste to generate energy.

“However, our priority is to cut waste at source, York currently has a 44 per cent recycling rate and we want to work with retailers and government to push this higher. We will work to cut waste being thrown into bins, especially single use plastics and other packaging which can enter the environment in the UK or further afield if it is exported to the Far East.” Alongside the development of a wildflower meadow, the Council intends to continue to use the Harewood Whin as a waste stream transfer station, meaning rubbish vans will still travel to the site.

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