Yesterday I visited Birmingham Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) at Tyseley, which is operated by Veolia. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to your black bag waste once the wagon has collected it, the picture below shows you the first stage of the process. Looking down from the control room high up, you can see a green coloured rubbish wagon moving away, having deposited its load of household waste into the vast tipping shed at the ERF.
The waste is then mingled (which helps the water to drain off, and helps it to burn better) before being put into the incinerator.
Birmingham’s ERF operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week incinerating household waste (so much better than land fill) in strict compliance with EU and UK emissions standards, and the process produces enough electricity to power 25,000 nearby homes.
In addition, the bottom ash (which is the material produced by the incineration process) is used for filling holes in roads etc. Each year, the ERF extracts 5000 tonnes of ferrous metals from the recovery process and further amounts of both ferrous and non ferrous metals are extracted from the bottom ash. All in all, it was a fascinating visit. Many thanks to Veolia for showing me round.