Recycling and recovery

Hazlehead recycling centre celebrates 10 year anniversary

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and Aberdeen City Council look back on 10 years of operations at the Hazlehead recycling centre.

The recycling centre, still known as Grove to many locals, first opened in January 2014 and now sees around 150,000 visitors every year. The amount of materials the site handles has grown substantially in that time, with twice the amount of waste being taken to the site each year now compared to 2014.

When the site first opened it handled 4,300 tonnes a year, rising to 9,000 tonnes last year (equivalent to 562 double decker buses) . Over 10 years the site has processed a total of 76,500 tonnes of recycling which now includes a whole range of materials including wood, electrical items, plastics, turf and ceramics. The majority of those materials are now able to be recycled, with those that can’t burnt and made into energy, meaning that less than 5% of waste is now sent to landfill compared to 37% in 2014.

Eddie Douse, SUEZ Site Operative, who has worked at the site since it first opened has seen a lot of change over the last 10 years, particularly with general attitudes towards recycling. Eddie said “When we first opened some people didn’t like it but now people want to dispose of their waste responsibly. They’re keen to know what happens to their items and what the process is. After 10 years here I really feel like part of the community and I get to interact with so many different people every day.”

Perhaps the biggest change in that time has been the introduction of a reuse shop, a treasure trove of preloved items which are sold and given a new lease of life instead of being put to waste. This alone has kept more than 100 tonnes of materials in circulation since it opened in July 2022. Now self-sustainable, we plan to introduce a community fund with profits from the shop to support the local community with efforts to increase sustainability.

The site has always been at the heart of the local community, with site staff regularly involved in activities like hosting site visits for local community groups and raising money for charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support.

Colin Forshaw, SUEZ Production Operations Manager, said, “Hazlehead recycling centre is a fantastic example of our company values with a real focus on separating out the materials that can be reused from those that can be recycled. The team have seen positive change during the last ten years and we are proud to play our part supporting the local community and its environment in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.”

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader and Net Zero, Environment and Transport convener, Councillor Ian Yuill, said: “The Household Waste and Recycling Centre at Hazlehead has been a mainstay of the council’s commitment to delivering environmental benefits to the city. Our partnership with suez at the centre has helped drive improvements in waste management and recycling not only in terms of handling renewables but in helping shape public awareness of the part we all have to play in tackling environmental issues.”