Rubbish! That is what the CE Oxford visit to the Viridor Energy Recovery Facility in Ardley on Tuesday 12th September was all about.
The operators of the site, Viridor, hosted CE delegates at the facility where non-recyclable rubbish is burned, generating electricity that is fed back into the National Grid. This process makes a huge impact on Oxfordshire’s waste management. The facility was recognised in the 2016 Oxford Preservation Trust awards for its contribution to the County as well as the aesthetic modern design and it is easy to see why.
Ardley ERF has been built as part of a 25-year contract for residual waste treatment signed with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). As well as treating household waste on behalf of OCC, the facility will also receive residual waste from local businesses and other local authorities helping them to divert their waste away from landfill.
The first impressions of the iconic building was just how well it was designed to fit into its surroundings. Completed in 2014 the building was designed by David Butterworth of SLR however, it was not just the building which caught the eye but the whole landscape setting. The Oxford Preservation Trust awards are in place to highlight the quality and variety of building projects taking place across Oxfordshire. As well as serving the community, the design is inspired by the history of the surrounding landscape. The facility was built on a working landfill site with immense groundwater problems.
The landmark building is adjacent to the M40 motorway and is easily seen from both the north and south carriageways. The facility is around 200m long and up to 14 stories in height which is quite something to integrate into the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. Standard units of measurement in the UK are double-decker London buses and football pitches so that is 2.25 football pitches and 7 double-decker buses in height!
Jessica Baker-Pike, Viridor Education and Visitor Centre Officer, explained to the group that they were treating 300,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste each year. The facility will divert at least 95% of Oxfordshire’s residual municipal waste away from landfill and generate enough electricity to power around 38,000 homes.
The Visitor Centre is well worth a visit and Jessica explained Viridor are very keen to encourage school visits.
“Teaching children about reducing, reusing and recycling from a young age means that it is more likely to become normal behaviour into adulthood”.