UK trade union GMB reports that it has been shown an email indicating that Veolia, a company responsible for recycling Sheffield’s household waste, is diverting recyclable materials to its waste-to-energy incinerator. Veolia appears to have made the decision in 2011.
Its contract with Sheffield City Council, as well as Environment Agency regulations, demands the company performs as much recycling as can be reasonably achieved.
The problem appears to be that Veolia’s incinerator has been struggling to get enough fuel to provide the company’s other commitment to provide district heating for the city.
Alongside this it is noted that Sheffield’s recycling rate has been fallen significantly. One reason, says GMB, is this diverting activity by Veolia.
Veolia has also been saving money says GMB because its members working at the recycling plant receive a bonus payment if they meet their recycling targets – something they have struggled to do in recent years due to the lack of provision of recyclable waste, so the bonus payments have not been made.
Lee Parkinson, GMB organiser, commented: “We accept we have to burn waste in the incinerator, indeed it’s our own members who work on that operation and it’s a good model for the city. “But these increasing diversions are coming from the household recycle sites and that is always going have a negative impact on recycling in Sheffield."
Peter Davies, a GMB senior urganiser, added: “Veolia appear to be burning things that could be recycled – adding to pollution and avoiding paying our members any bonus at the same time.
“We call on Sheffield City Council to be transparent about the recycling requirements in the contract with Veolia.”