The new centralised materials recovery facility will be built on part of the former Longman landfill site.
The facility is intended to support the council in meeting forthcoming changes to national waste regulations. From 1st January 2021 it will no longer be permissible for refuse collected by the council to be sent to landfill.
The new facility will comprise a large rectangular building of approximately 100m by 34m along with associated office and welfare facilities, a weighbridge, access road, car parking and landscaping.
The Highland Council currently collects and disposes of around 144,000 tonnes of waste produced by households and commercial waste customers each year. At present, 43% of this material is recycled. The remaining refuse, which accounts for 57% of Highland waste (82,700 tonnes) is sent to landfill at a cost of approximately £11m annually.
The new facility will receive and process Highland refuse to recover recyclable materials. It will also reclaim value from the remaining refuse by preparing it for use as refuse derived fuel for use elsewhere in Scotland, the UK or Europe in thermal treatment facilities, which use the fuel to produce electricity and heat.
Councillor Allan Henderson chair of the council’s environment, development & infrastructure committee said: “The change to national waste regulations from January 1st, 2021 will promote consideration of the waste we produce as a valuable resource and is intended to contribute to the development of a more circular economy. The Longman facility will play a pivotal role in Highland Council’s plans to divert refuse from landfill as well as aiding efficient transportation of our waste and reducing the climate and wider environmental impacts associated with this.”