Recovery and disposal

Oxfordshire is one of the best performing councils at recycling and composting. However, there is still a substantial amount of waste to be disposed of. Landfill sites emit methane gas, which is over 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas. The cost of sending waste to landfill is also increasing due to tax rises. This means that Oxfordshire has moved away from using landfill to dispose of the waste that can't be recycled or composted.

In March 2011 Oxfordshire County Council awarded a 25 year contract for residual waste treatment to Viridor Oxfordshire Ltd. The new £200m energy recovery facility (ERF) built by Viridor at Ardley in north Oxfordshire, started accepting waste in 2015. All of Oxfordshire's general waste from kerbside collections and Household Waste Recycling Centres is now being treated there. 

The ERF has capacity to treat 300,000 tonnes of waste per year - sufficient to treat all of Oxfordshire's residual municipal waste, and the plant:

  • diverts at least 95% of Oxfordshire's general waste from landfill
  • generates electricity for about 38,000 homes, which is exported to the National Grid.
  • reduces greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 56,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (compared to landfill)
  • provides a value for money solution for managing our residual waste compared to continuing to landfill
  • provides about 40 jobs during operation.

The residual waste treatment contract has no minimum tonnage which means this is not a barrier to our continuing efforts to reduce, re-use, recycle and compost more of our waste.

The Ardley ERF has a state-of-the-art visitor centre to teach children and adults about sustainable waste management and how energy recovery fits into the waste hierarchy.

For the latest information on residual waste treatment, and how to contact Viridor to arrange visits to the ERF, visit Oxfordshire County Council's pages on alternatives to landfill.

Aerial view of the ERF at Ardley

Aerial view of the ERF at Ardley