Suffolk had one of the highest rates for household waste recycling in England, at more 50%. However, this still left thousands of tonnes of household waste – plus business waste – going to landfill.
Waste from across the county that cannot be reused or recycled is now converted into energy at the SUEZ facility, which opened in 2014.
We built and manage the energy-from-waste facility at Great Blakenham, Ipswich. The building was designed by award-winning architects, Grimshaw, best known for designing the Eden Project in Cornwall.
Operations began in December 2014. With an annual capacity of 269,000 tonnes, the facility can process all household waste for the entire county plus additional business waste.
Energy-from-waste is a more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective solution for the county’s waste. The facility will save the council at least £350 million over the life of our 25-year contract, compared with landfilling. It also reduces greenhouse gases by 75,000 tonnes a year (according to Environment Agency calculations).
Our operations also allow for recycling of metals – which are extracted from the ash from waste incineration – and of the ash itself. This is processed on site and used as an aggregate in road building.
By diverting waste from landfill, recovering valuable energy from the waste left after recycling, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the facility also supports Suffolk County Council’s ambition to make Suffolk the greenest county.
The residual waste from homes across Suffolk and businesses generates enough electricity to power 30,000 homes, with significant environmental benefits and financial savings for council taxpayers.
The building’s environmental performance was rated ‘outstanding’ under BREEAM (Buildings Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) – a rating achieved by less than 2% of two million buildings assessed.
Our facility has also won three national awards – two for the building and the other for our operations team.
In autumn 2016, the facility won top prize for sustainability in the Blueprint Awards 2016, which celebrate the best in world architecture and design. It was also recognised in the 2016 Civic Trust awards for projects that benefit their local communities, as “a striking innovation in industrial architecture”.
Our team at Suffolk were awarded the PEEL People’s Cup by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM). This annual award is given to the best operating team.