The latest data from leading resource management company, Veolia, has highlighted the pivotal role that Energy Recovery Facilities have played in dealing with the safe treatment of clinical and medical wastes that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.
At a time of reduced clinical waste disposal capacity in the UK, the company has rapidly adapted to develop a response on medical waste, and has been able to increase capacity and respond to a very real issue requiring quick disposal and sanitation.
To dispose of the more than 61,000 tonnes of orange bagged clinical and infectious waste that arises each year Veolia’s facilities have already efficiently adapted the operations to typically treat a 15% increase in waste arisings from local areas during the pandemic. Some sites have also played a key role in addressing the problem of the hospital waste treated at the end of 2019, under the RPS, due to shortage of capacity.
During Spring 2020 orange bag waste was trialed at Veolia’s Tyseley ERF in Birmingham the results showed that ERF has the lowest carbon footprint of the three common treatment options by a significant margin. This is because the energy consumption at ERF is low at around 75 kWh per tonne of waste treated, and typical electricity generation is high at around 690 kWh per tonne of waste treated.
The treatment operations across the country have also had a positive energy benefit by supplying electricity to the grid and delivering low carbon heat to thousands of homes and communities through district heating schemes. Veolia currently operates ten Energy Recovery Facilities across the UK which generate around 1.4TWh of electricity by treating non-recyclable waste, and these provide enough electricity for over 430,000 homes.
New regulations now mean that any organisation that is currently COVID-19 mass testing of employees, students or the public needs to make new waste handling arrangements to meet the legal compliance.
As 2021 draws closer, and with it, the hope that we can come out of the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic, now is the time to think about preparing your business for a new, greener approach.