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Waste Disposal and Integrated Waste Management

In 2006 Cornwall County Council entered into a 30 year Integrated Waste Management PFI Contract (IWMC) with SITA Cornwall Ltd for the management and disposal of Cornwall Council’s municipal waste. 

The IWMC was based upon the development of new and improved recycling facilities including Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), composting facilities, landfill development, Refuse Transfer Stations (RTS) and the design and construction of an Energy from Waste facility with combined heat and power.


HWRCs are locations where residents can deposit bulky waste, green waste and recycling.  Currently there are 13 sites operating throughout Cornwall and the overall recycling rate currently stands at 62% of all materials delivered to the facilities. A Vehicle Permit system is in operation at these sites to reduce unauthorised use by traders. .

  • Material Recovery Facilities

MRFs are located at Pool and Bodmin where dry recyclables collected from the kerbside are sorted and bulked before they are transported to recycling reprocessors.  A waste education centre is also based at the Bodmin MRF where tours of the facility are conducted.

  • Landfill

Cornwall Council’s last remaining municipal landfill is located at Connon Bridge. This site will continue to be used until the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre (CERC) is completed in 2016. Thereafter, it will be used to landfill the small amounts of waste that cannot be processed by the CERC until planning permission for the site ends in 2018.

  • Refuse Transfer Stations

At refuse transfer stations waste from local residents is collected and bulked up before being delivered to the end disposal point.  These facilities exist at St Erth, Newquay, St Austell, Launceston and Pool.

A planning application for permission to construct an Energy from Waste facility with combined heat and power, at St Dennis was submitted in 2008.  Following a lengthy legal battle, including a public inquiry, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Secretary of State and planning permission for this facility was gained in July 2012. Work on the development is split into 2 phases. Phase 1 includes the construction of a haul and access road and completed in August 2013. Phase 2 includes the building of the Energy from Waste facility, known as the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre and is due to start in September 2013.

Cornwall's Waste Local Plan (WLP) was developed over a number of years and adopted in December 2002, after wide public consultation and a public inquiry at which the government inspector endorsed the Integrated Waste Management approach.  In 1999, during the preparation of the WLP, independent consultants considered different possible scenarios for managing waste in future, using combinations of various management methods and technologies. Computer modelling was used to verify their findings.  All aspects - including the likely amount of waste in 25 years' time, future recycling and composting levels, environmental impacts and transport, regulatory requirements and siting for necessary waste treatment facilities - were taken into account.

Integrated Waste Management (IWM)

Integrated waste management is a comprehensive system for managing waste which uses a number of different collection and treatment methods and technologies, according to which is most appropriate for which waste.  It is a tailored approach, which places the emphasis on recycling and recovering value from waste wherever possible, and it enables us to protect the environment and conserve valuable resources, while generating a small income from sales of materials and energy to help offset some of the costs of dealing with waste safely.

Treatment options

Waste management companies bidding for the contract to manage Cornwall's waste were left to set out their own ideas of how those objectives could best be delivered.  Only options, which were technically proven, environmentally sound and economically viable, were considered. Bidders were also informed that the mix of options had to include waste minimisation, recycling and composting activities and be designed to minimise the quantity of untreated waste being sent to landfill for disposal. 

The procurement process was conducted according to strict EU rules following the Invitation to Negotiate process. The Council's bid evaluation team assessed bids received from the industry but elected Members of Cornwall County Council made the final decision on whether or not to enter into an IWM contract.

Revised Project Agreement

The Integrated Waste Management Contract, signed in October 2006, included the requirement to obtain planning permission for the Energy from Waste facility by 30 March 2010. The failure to obtain planning permission prior to this longstop date gave Cornwall Council the contractual right to either terminate the IWM Contract or instruct Sita Cornwall Ltd to propose a draft revised project plan. Sita Cornwall Ltd was instructed to proceed with a revised plan and the restated Project Agreement was signed in March 2013. In order to mitigate against the increase in costs caused by the delay in obtaining planning permission, the contract has been extended until 31 August 2039.

A copy of this agreement can be obtained by emailing cerc@cornwall.gov.uk and leaving your full name and address or by contacting the Refuse and Recycling Team at Cornwall Council.

A copy of this agreement can be obtained by emailing cerc@cornwall.gov.uk and leaving your full name and address or by contacting the Refuse and Recycling Team at Cornwall Council.

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Refuse and recycling

0300 1234 141