Yorwaste’s landfill site near York has been officially mothballed.
The site at Harewood Whin, near Rufforth, opened in the 1980s and will now, over time, be transformed into a wildflower meadow, which hopes to encourage more fauna and flora to the area.
Yorwaste this week took representatives from the City of York, along with journalists, to the site to mark this significant moment.
Household waste collected in York and North Yorkshire is now being sent to Allerton Waste Recovery Park (AWRP) near Knaresborough. The plant can process up to 320,000 tonnes of waste per year and is operated by Amey on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council. Diverting this waste away from landfill means AWRP can also use it to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 40,000 homes in the area.
Cllr Andrew Waller, City of York 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”
Progress has already been made to transform part of the Harewood Whin site, and vegetation growth can be seen flourishing in areas which have been disused for over 10 years.
Geoff Derham, Yorwaste Group Operations Director, said: “The mothballing of the landfill site at Harewood Whin is significant and recognises the strides we have made with our partners to seek alternative disposal and treatment options.
“We are particularly pleased that we are now able to offer our customers a zero waste to landfill solution, their waste either being recycled or transformed into green energy.”
Cllr Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council, said: “Rather than sending waste to landfill in York, around 56 per cent of all waste produced is now sent to the Allerton Waste Recovery Park in North Yorkshire – the remainder 44 per cent is recycled.
“Compared to the costs of continuing to send rubbish to landfill, this will save York tax-payers around £53 million over 25 years. By no longer send waste to the Harewood Whin landfill site, we are improving the overall environment and area for local residents too.”
The facility diverts waste from landfill and instead uses it to generate energy. The site combines three state-of-the-art technologies on one site – mechanical treatment, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste facility – producing steam to feed an electricity generating turbine that produces enough electricity to supply about 40,000 homes.
Harewood Whin will continue to be used as a transfer station for all waste streams, so refuse vehicles will still be travelling onto the site.