Recycling and recovery

State-of-the-art technology and opportunities for young people at the heart of rebuild of Aberdeen's recycling centre

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK has started work on rebuilding and upgrading the recycling facility in Altens, Aberdeen which was badly damaged by a fire in July 2022.

While the building itself will look almost exactly the same on the outside, the inside will include the latest technology and state-of-the-art machinery, improving the efficiency of the plant.

Colin Forshaw, Production Operations Manager for SUEZ, said "We are delighted to get work underway to rebuild the recycling facility in Aberdeen. It’s been a real partnership effort to get to this stage since the fire and we’ll be working alongside Aberdeen City Council to ensure that the facility meets their needs and has all of the latest technology to get the most value out of everybody’s waste.

"I’d like to thank the residents of Aberdeen for continuing to recycle. While we have some way to go before the new facility opens, breaking ground is a real milestone moment for us."

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Ian Yuill said, "We are excited to see the first spade in the ground for the rebuilt recycling facility at Altens. The facility provides a vital resource to improving the recycling rate around the North East.

"SUEZ and our own recycling team are commended on the way they’ve handled the loss of the facility. However, we are all looking forward to having a refreshed and innovative facility back up and running."

The rebuild will commence in phases, as the site is also home to a waste transfer facility and an office building (which houses the visitor centre). The first stage has begun, with the removal of cladding from the current transfer facility structure. This is expected to be completed in Summer 2024, enabling recycling to be bulked on site before being transferred elsewhere to be recycled. This process is currently being done south of Aberdeen, and so the focus on the transfer station will allow for efficiencies this year, saving time and mileage traveled for council vehicles.

The facility has the same purpose as before, and will be used to process mixed recycling, including glass, cardboard, newspaper, plastics and metals from households across the North East.

The rebuild is in line with Aberdeen City Council’s ambitions for Net Zero Aberdeen and their Circular Economy Strategy which highlights the importance of maximising the value from waste by recycling at end of life and recovering materials.

The upgrade will also cover the visitor centre, which previously educated groups about the recycling process including site tours, with an average of 350 visitors every year. The waste and resources sector is set for a lot of innovation over the next few years, and raising awareness of green skills will be vital. The new visitor centre will offer a careers focus as well as helping to educate residents about their waste and recycling.

It is expected that the full rebuild, including the recycling facility, will cost in the region of £30 million and will take around a year to build, followed by a 3-6 month testing and commissioning phase before being fully operational in mid-2025.