North London sends over half a million tonnes of waste (582,797 tonnes in 2017-18) for disposal each year. Whilst every effort is made to encourage recycling across north London, not everyone recycles and not everything is recyclable so the ‘leftover’ waste needs disposing of properly and safely. The majority of the leftover or ‘residual’ waste is taken to the Edmonton EcoPark ‘Energy from Waste’ site where it is turned into energy to help power homes. The current centre at the EcoPark is nearly 50 years old and needs replacing to continue to process north London’s residual waste. North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has therefore obtained approval to build a new Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), and associated development, at the site.
With construction work due to start next year, ground investigation work is needed to prepare for the new ERF. The EcoPark site is currently home to an IVC (In-Vessel Composting) plant. The IVC is a facility which processes food and garden waste and turns it into compost. The ground investigation work needs to be carried out in the area where the IVC is located, which means that the IVC will be closed for the foreseeable future and decommissioned from 27 October 2018 to enable this work.
There will be no change to residents’ current garden and food waste collection services. LondonEnergy Ltd (LEL) who runs the EcoPark site on behalf of NLWA have organised for garden and food waste that is collected by the north London borough councils to continue to be processed elsewhere. Due to the cost and space restrictions at the EcoPark site the processed compost cannot be returned and made available to north London residents.
Therefore, the current arrangements whereby compost is available free-of-charge to north London residents will not be available from 27 October 2018. There are still opportunities to take advantage of these current arrangements - current orders will be honoured and any further bulk orders for free compost by community and allotment groups must be made by 31 August 2018. The last date for individuals collecting compost will be made available nearer the time when there are 1,000 bags remaining.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of North London Waste Authority said,
‘The decision to close the composting facility has been driven by the need to replace the existing ‘Energy from Waste’ centre with a new Energy Recovery Facility – a decision which is paramount to managing north London’s waste after the current site comes to the end of its useable life in around 7 years. However, there will be no changes to residents’ current garden and food waste collection system which is a crucial service for the people of north London. Regrettably the provision of free compost, as a result of having a local IVC site, will be ceasing for the foreseeable future, but I would like to encourage as many north London residents as possible to make their own compost at home instead – it is really easy to do and gives your garden a nutrient-rich food ideal for growing your own plants and food.’
NLWA will keep under review its ability to provide compost. This will include looking at the use of land on the EcoPark site following completion of the new Energy Recovery Facility and demolition of the existing energy centre. In the meantime, residents can buy compost made from composted organic waste from other outlets such as garden centres and supermarkets. Alternatively, you can make your own compost at home – some useful information is available at recyclenow.com/reduce-waste/composting or can you call NLWA on 020 8489 5730 or visit wiseuptowaste.org.uk to find out about setting up in home composting. The seven north London Councils also offer subsidised composting bins which is a great way of producing your own free compost.