Leeds - Background

Veolia leeds Background

Find out more about our partnership with Leeds City Council

In 2012, Veolia signed a 25-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with Leeds City Council for residual municipal waste treatment and energy recovery.

Currently around 40% of household waste in Leeds is recycled or composted. Leeds City Council is working with the public to increase this recycling rate to a minimum with aspirations to exceed this level in the longer term.

Our solution supports this goal but, even with increased recycling rates, there will always be an amount of waste that cannot be recycled either because it is not technically possible or economically viable to do so. 

The government has told local authorities that they need to find other ways to manage their black bin household waste because landfill is the least appropriate solution and emits a substantial amount of greenhouse gases.

To encourage local authorities and businesses to stop sending waste to landfill sites, the government charges a Landfill Tax. In 2022 this tax will rise to £98 a tonne, meaning the cost to the Council and taxpayers of burying this black bag waste will continue to increase.

Our solution will save the city £270 million over the 25-year contract compared to the cost of sending to landfill.  

The Council has chosen Veolia to help deliver their goals for increasing recycling and avoiding landfill. The Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) comprises a first stage recycling facility that can handle up to 214,000 tonnes per annum of residual waste and recycle around 2 per cent of the waste .  

The residue left over from this first important recycling stage will be used in the second stage Energy Recovery Facility.  This is sized at 190,000 tonnes per annum and will generate around 13 MW of electricity for supply to the National Grid – sufficient to power in the region of 22,000 homes  

Steam generated from the RERF is utilised to provide heat energy to a District Heating Network which supplies energy to homes and businesses across the city of Leeds.

This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the same amount as taking around 19,500 cars off the road each year.

Any shortfalls in household waste as a result of, for example, increases in recycling rates beyond those already targeted will be made up with similar wastes from the business sector in Leeds which would otherwise have been landfilled.

This will also help to keep costs down for the Council related to its black bin waste whilst maintaining income from electricity generation.  

Veolia signed a 25-year contract with Leeds CC in 2012.

Around 40% of household waste in Leeds is recycled.

The RERF now manages all of Leeds black bin waste across the city.