What happens to our waste?

Ever wondered what happened to the waste produced at the University of Edinburgh?

Dry Mixed Recycling/Paper and Cardboard/Glass 

Dry Mixed Recycling/Paper and Cardboard/Glass are taken off-site for segregation at a materials recycling facility (MRF) (glass is taken to a separate plant) where they are placed on a sorting line and each recyclate (e.g. plastic bottles, cardboard, paper, etc) is segregated and bulked. Once sufficient bulk of a stream has been accumulated, it is dispatched to a manufacturer (e.g. to a drinks can manufacturer, or paper manufacturer) for reprocessing.

General Waste

General Waste stream is initially taken to a MRF designed to handle food/wet contamination where a small amount of recyclable material (such as wood, plastics and metals) are pre-sorted. The majority of the waste is then sent to another facility to produce Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).  RDF is burnt at an energy from waste plant to generate electricity and heat.

Food Waste

Food Waste is taken to an anaerobic digestion facility. The process provides a source of renewable energy, as the waste is broken down to produce bio gas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide). A further by-product of the process is bio-fertiliser (the digestate from the process), which is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and other elements required for healthy plant growth and fertile soil.