Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots, has heard first-hand how adopting Re-Gen Waste’s co-mingling recycling services model across all councils in Northern Ireland, could help them save money and meet a 65% recycling target by 2035.
Minister Poots and Re-Gen also discussed how the state-of-the-art facility focuses on landfill diversion and processing recyclables so that local companies such as egg carton maker Huhtamaki, can repurpose the materials to help achieve a circular economy.
The visit provided an opportunity for the Minister to take a tour of the plant which has undergone a £9 million investment in the last four years, to become one of Europe’s leading waste management companies and one of the first MRF’s in the UK to create the technology capable of accepting glass in blue bin waste collections.
According to Managing Director Joseph Doherty, their key objective is to “transform waste, whether it is domestic or commercial, into a sustainable solution,” and in the process, protect the planet.
He said: “It was a pleasure to have the Minister visit Re-Gen Waste as we are really proud of this facility and how it’s transforming the way the general public sees ‘waste’.
“There’s recycling and then there’s revolutionary recycling and we want to demonstrate that revolutionary recycling is what the world needs. There was a good debate around the recent ‘Future Recycling and Separate Collection of Waste of a Household Nature in Northern Ireland’ consultation and how we can meet a recycling target of 65%.
“Local councils are zoning in on the cost of their waste and recycling service, which can account for up to half their annual budget. They are finding that residents prefer household friendly co-mingling schemes as opposed to pre-sort schemes and that working with advanced MRF’s like Re-Gen, can lift dry recycling performance and improve their recycling rates.”
“Today’s sorting technology is developing at such a fast pace, it is unrecognisable from a few years ago. At Re-Gen, we are capable of producing high quality materials that would have been unachievable three years ago. We are investing heavily in new technology and are actually developing the processing equipment of the future.
“We care about getting it right and at the heart of our business is a commitment to genuinely make things better – to create a cleaner future and in doing so, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill each year”, he said.
Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA said: “It was great to visit Re-Gen Waste today to see their facility and discuss the issues that are facing the waste sector. Re-Gen have been vital to keeping our waste moving during the Covid crisis and I also recognise the level of employment they have brought to the local area.”
Re-Gen employs 250 staff across a wide range of disciplines and operations include Waste to Energy (WtE), Mixed Dry Recycling (MDR) processing, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) processing and engineering.
The company operates its purpose-built installation 24 hours a day and currently processes up to 300,000 tonnes of household waste annually, including 150,000 tonnes of Mixed Solid Waste.
Ninety-five per cent of which is converted to Refuse Derived Fuel and Solid Recovered Fuel, via their waste to energy operation, which is exported on to Europe.