Five Scottish local authorities have joined together to deliver improved recycling and residual waste treatment.
East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire have signed a £700m deal with waste management company Viridor.
The contract, which is central to the 25-year Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project, will see Viridor process up to 190,000 tonnes of residual waste annually which would otherwise be sent to landfill.
The waste will be treated at a Materials Recovery Facility in Bargeddie, removing plastics and metals, to produce a refuse derived fuel. This is transported to Dunbar where it is burned at high temperatures, under carefully controlled conditions, to produce 258GWh of low carbon electricity – enough power for the equivalent of 70,656 homes.
This will help the partner councils comply with the Scottish Government Zero Waste Plan and Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012.
Robert Steenson, executive director of enterprise and communities at North Lanarkshire Council, said the project was the first of its kind in Scotland and would contribute to managing household waste more effectively.
He added: “It means that the waste, which cannot be otherwise be recycled, will now be diverted from landfill and transformed into low carbon electricity, with Dunbar Energy Recovery Facility generating enough power for the equivalent of 70,656 homes.”
Mr Steenson said the project would reduce the “overall carbon impact” of the disposal of the waste and provide community benefits such as apprenticeships, work placements and training workshops for businesses.
A number of community benefits will be delivered over the term of the contract.
Employment opportunities will be created across the partner council areas and Dunbar, particularly aimed at long-term unemployed and young people, over the 25-year contract.
Viridor will work with small and medium sized businesses to establish a Clyde Valley supply chain and ensure local companies in the partner area can bid for supply contracts.
A Clyde Valley GO4SET (science, engineering and technology) educational partnership will be set up with the Engineering Development Trust to encourage more secondary school pupils into STEM subjects.