A “game-changing” solution to creating Energy from Waste at a Preston recycling business has been handed a top award.
Recycling Lives has been working in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to develop a solution to avoid sending waste residue from the recycling process to landfill, instead turning it into electrical energy.
The study won the Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration award at The Times Higher Education Awards on November 29. The awards, nicknamed the ‘Oscars of the Higher Education’, recognise outstanding contributions in higher education.
Chemical engineer Dr Ala Khodier has been working for Recycling Lives for two years on the project to reduce waste to landfill and increase recycle rates.
He said: “I am incredibly honoured that our work has been recognised at such a high level. These findings are the result of a perfect partnership between Recycling Lives and UCLan, exploring how we can achieve best in class recycling processes.”
Prof Karl Williams, Director of the Centre for Waste Management at UCLan, added: “I feel honoured that we have won this award as it recognises the hard work that both UCLan and Recycling Lives have put in over the years to creating this long-term collaboration.”
Recycling Lives recycles around 100,000 scrap cars annually through its industry-leading machinery at its Preston-based Recycling Park.
Its processes allow for millions of tonnes of recycled metals and plastics to be returned to the market but also creates up to 1.2million tonnes of auto-shredder residue which could not previously be recycled or reused.
Now the study has developed a method of transforming the residue into a saleable product and electrical energy, to create a closed-loop recycling solution at the Recycling Park. Dr Khodier has also found metals retained in the residue that can be extracted and returned to the market, boosting recycling rates.
Once fully developed it is anticipated the solution will save Recycling Lives more than £1m annually while generating around 1,000 MW of energy.
This year named Recycling Business of the Year, Recycling Lives is industry-leading in its processes to recycle scrap cars, scrap metals and plastics. Its Recycling Park is home to bespoke machinery and infrastructure, including a fragmentiser and one of only three pre-shredders in the UK. It operates 12 sites nationally, managing waste and recycling contracts for blue-chip businesses including BT, British Gas and Sellafield.
It is unique in using its recycling and waste management operations to support and sustain charitable activities. It three social offerings create employment opportunities for marginalised individuals through its offender rehabilitation and residential programmes, and redistributing food to charitable organisations across Lancashire and Cumbria.
Recycling Lives is a multi-award-winning social business that combines commercial and charitable operations. Its commercial activities, undertaking recycling and waste management, directly support and sustain charitable activities of offender rehabilitation, food redistribution and a residential charity.
The company has operated in the recycling sector for 40 years. With 11 sites nationwide, its main 15-acre Recycling Park is home to industry-leading machinery, including Europe’s only fully-digitised fragmentiser.
Its charity and social enteprises work to create social impact through social and environmental initiatives.
Its Food Redistribution Centre is tackling food poverty and reducing food waste. It takes surplus goods from food manufacturers, suppliers and supermarkets – which would have been destined for landfill – and distributes it to charities and community groups working in deprived areas and with disadvantaged groups.
Its HMP Academies programme is operational in 11 prisons nationwide. These Academies allow offenders to undertake meaningful work, in recycling and fabrication processes, while improving skills and earning qualifications, to reduce their risk of reoffending on release.
Its residential charity offers structured support, accommodation and training opportunities to homeless men, allowing them to develop life and work skills to regain their independence and move into meaningful work and stable accommodation