Directorate of Estates and Facilities


How we manage waste

Over recent years, the University has invested significantly in the provision of recycling facilities across the campus, both internally and externally and now manages over 60 waste streams, most of which are recycled or re-used.

Many recyclates are collected on a daily basis by the Campus Cleansing Unit as illustrated in the various videos here, or by the university's waste contractors, Veolia (ES) UK Ltd.

A local company, Elsa Recycling, collect the majority of the University's waste office paper and cardboard.

The general (residual) waste that is left over is collected and disposed of by Veolia via a contract which started on 7th January 2019.

The waste is taken to Veolia’s Materials Recovery Facility in Trafford Park. Here a limited amount of recyclates are removed before the remaining waste is bulked up and transferred to a site in Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire, where it is processed as a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).

The Ferrybridge Facility is operated by Multifuel Energy Ltd and is a R1* rated facility meaning that the process for treating waste is deemed a “recovery” rather than a “disposal” operation in line with the Waste Hierarchy.

The major components of the Ferrybridge plant include a waste receiving and storage area integrating a 57,600m3 enclosed solid fuel bunker, combustion and boiler facilities, flue gas treatment facilities and residue handling and treatment facilities.

The power plant has two 117MW, 5 pass boiler lines which commenced burning fuel in 2015.

The waste/fuel is burned under controlled conditions to produce steam using the 2 boilers and the steam is fed to an extraction-condensation turbine to generate electricity. The plant burns an average of 75 tonnes of waste per hour to produce 73MWh net export of electricity - so almost 1 MWh per tonne of waste. Excess steam is used for heating purposes within the Ferrybridge plant.

Flue gas derived from the plant is treated using the DeNOx** technology through the selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) method (and released into the atmosphere through an 80m stack.

Approximately 20% of the fuel burn by weight becomes Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) - this is taken to Ballast Phoenix in Sheffield where 100% of the material is reprocessed into construction products such as breeze blocks. A small quantity of ferrous metal is also recovered from the IBA and is sent for recycling.

A further 4% of the fuel burn by weight becomes an air pollution control residue (APCr) - this is fly ash contaminated with hydrated lime and activated carbon. This material is currently taken to Castle Environmental in Ilkeston, Nottinghamshire, where it is reacted with acidic wastes before final disposal in a hazardous waste landfill.

* The R1 formula is set out in the EU Waste Framework Directive and is a performance indicator for the level of energy recovered from waste. It is based on factors including the energy produced by a plant and the energy contained in the waste. Where the value of R1 is calculated as being greater than 0.65 the process can be classed as a “recovery” rather than a “disposal” operation, placing it higher up the Waste Hierarchy. It is designed to incentivise municipal solid waste incinerators to improve their energy recovery performance.

** DeNox (NOx) Control Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) is a post-combustion technology that is designed to control nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from boilers by the injection of ammonia or urea reagents into the flue gas.