Latest News

GMWDA Appoints a new Chair
GMWDA Appoints a new Chair

At the Authority's Annual General Meeting on the 7th July 2014 Councillor Catherine more

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Retire
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Retire

On Friday 21st March 2014, Councillor Neil Swannick, Chair of Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority for 13 years, chaired his final meeting of the Authority. more

GMWDA in the News

Click here to see where we've been in the news


Recycling and Waste Management Contract

To download the summary document detailing our Recycling and Waste Management Contract please follow the link at the bottom of this page.

On 9th April 2009 we signed a 25 year 'Recycling and Waste Management Contract' with Viridor Laing (Greater Manchester) Limited (VLGM). This Contract is creating state-of-the-art recycling facilities across the whole of Greater Manchester. 

Through this Contract more than 75% of Greater Manchester’s waste will be diverted from landfill.  With Greater Manchester's waste accounting for 5% of the UK’s municipal waste, this Contract will make a powerful contribution to ensuring that the UK complies with its requirements under the European Union Landfill Directive, and in turn will deliver important carbon benefits. 

This recycling and waste solution is the first of its kind in the UK on this scale. The introduction of technologies to treat the whole of the Greater Manchester's municipal waste (which is greater than the quantity of municipal waste produced in the whole of Northern Ireland) is a significant accomplishment. Whilst these technologies have been proven in Europe they have not before now been integrated to provide a total municipal waste management solution on a sub-regional scale. 

 The signing of the Recycling and Waste Mangement Contract bewteen Greater Manchester's Waste Disposal Authority and Virdor Laing Greater Manchester

Back row left to right: Louise Calviou—Inoes Chlor, Andy Harmer – John Laing, Councillor Neil Swannick—GMWDA, Collin Drummond - Viridor.
Front row left to right: Charlie Parker—GMWDA, Barrie Hurley – Viridor. 


The Secretary of State for the Environment at the time of Contract signing, Hilary Benn, said about this project: 

“Diverting one million tonnes of waste through these world class waste facilities will be a major step in reaching our 2013 and 2020 landfill targets and play an important role in battling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions created by landfill.

“But it’s not only the environmental benefits we should be celebrating. The creation of 5,000 new jobs in the North West is a boost for the regional economy at a welcome time and I am pleased that Defra could support the delivery of this project by providing approximately £125 million in funding and advice.”

The Contract, signed in April 2009, was secured during a period of unprecedented financial turbulence. There was more than two years of intensive working between GMWDA, VLGM and the funders to achieve such success. It is to the credit of all the partners involved that the largest municipal waste contract in Western Europe has commenced. The project closed with support from the Treasury’s infrastructure fund.


Waste Collection Alignment

Prior to the development of this recycling and waste solution the 9 Waste Collection Authorities (the Greater Manchester District Councils) devised and implemented their own recycling and waste strategies.  This was disjointed however and not aligned to a joint approach for the collection and disposal of recyclate.

In partnership with the Waste Collection Authorities we therefore developed an integrated collection and disposal solution with innovative technologies and newly designed efficient Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

Kerbside collections have therefore been aligned across all 9 Greater Manchester districts into the following 4 waste streams:

  • paper, card and cardboard cartons (Tetra Pak);
  • 'commingled' plastic bottles, glass and cans;
  • garden waste and food waste (food waste collections are being phased in and so are not currently available in all areas); and
  • residual waste.

By removing paper and card and cardboard cartons from the commingled stream, to be dealt with separately, and removing all plastics but plastic bottles allows this commingled waste stream to be sorted mechanically, in our new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at Longley Lane in the Sharston area of Manchester.  This means that we have been able to minimise the amount of manual hand sorting required.


The Technologies Being Developed

A network of facilities are being built or redeveloped across Greater Manchester which will assist in improving recycling levels and the recovery of household waste to make Greater Manchester a more sustainable environment.

A new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will sort the kerbside recyclable materials (commingled) into the different material types, from where they will then be sent for recycling.

New Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) and Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants will process organic material to produce gases which will be harnessed to generate sustainable renewable power (‘green electricity’), and compost-like material. Each site will produce around 2 MW of power, half of which will run the site with the rest fed into the National Grid. 

Some of the residual waste that cannot be recycled, instead of being sent to landfill, will be processed into Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), through the MBT process, for use by chemical producer Ineos Chlor for energy production at its plant at Runcorn. The 275,000 tonnes of fuel fed to the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant will produce electricity and steam, replacing energy generated from non-renewable sources.

The Bolton Thermal Recovery Facility (TRF) will continue to operate, taking the remaining residual waste which cannot be recycled.

4 new In-Vessel Composting (IVC) facilities will treat garden and food waste to produce quality compost. 

The 2 existing Green Waste Shredding (GWS) Facilities will be improved for continued operation.

Existing Transfer Loading Stations (TLS) will be furbished, along with the creation of new TLSs.  These are strategically located such as to minimise travel by facility vehicles, reducing road miles and carbon emissions.

4 public education centres (2 existing and 2 new) will provide educational resources for school, community and other interested groups.

The network of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) is being overhauled, including new sites and modernised facilities, with the retention of existing HWRCs. 

Full details of these facilities can be found on the Services and Facilities pages.

The state-of-the-art facilities combine being easier for residents to use with providing better working conditions for waste operatives and use modern methods to eliminate noise and odours. This recycling and waste management service is designed to fit with the current and future collections provided by the 9 Waste Collection Authorities, and the flexibility of the facilities will provide certainty for Greater Manchester’s waste disposal beyond 25 years. 


The Benefits Being Delivered

A commitment to environmental improvement is at the heart of the Contract, particularly in terms of the carbon benefits it will deliver.

The technologies have very high environmental credentials with benefits for Greater Manchester’s carbon footprint. A number of the redevelopment sites have rail access, keeping vehicles off our roads.

However the environmental benefits are also wider reaching than the local area.

Through our partnership with the Waste Collection Authorities, last year alone we prevented approximately 92,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This Contract will raise that annual average to around 400,000 tonnes by 2020, equating to the amount emitted by 67,000 average UK households (the Energy Saving Trust estimates that each UK household creates 6 tonnes of CO2 each year).

The Contract will deliver 50 % guaranteed recycling rates and 75 % guaranteed diversion from landfill resulting in a reduction of emissions to air and water and the global consequences of greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with the environmental benefits the Contract is also delivering social and economic benefits through the £631 million investment in Greater Manchester and the creation and safeguarding of jobs associated with the construction and management programme.

The Contract is also delivering what the residents of Greater Manchester want; access to an easy to use recycling system. 


Operational Performance

The Contract marks the beginning of an important chapter in the way Greater Manchester deals with its resources and waste. The solution will help meet the targets of Greater Manchester’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy (MWMS):

  • To arrest the increase in municipal waste arisings to no more than 1% per annum by 2010; zero by 2020; and no growth through to 2030.
  • To achieve levels of recycling and composting of household waste of 33% by 2010; and a minimum of 50% by 2020 and through to 2030.
  • To reduce household waste by 50% in proportion to current municipal waste arisings, which will reduce total tonnage by 10%.
  • To accord the highest priority to waste reduction and minimisation.

Download the summary document detailing our Recycling and Waste Management Contract here

 Contract Documents in redacted form can be viewed here