HRH the Duke of Gloucester officially opened a new-generation materials recovery facility in Alton, Hampshire (UK) yesterday. It is one of the most advanced in Europe in terms of technology used to recycle selectively collected waste.

The new facility has the latest innovations for mechanically separating and recycling plastics, cans, paper, newsprint and cardboard pre-sorted by Hampshire residents, specifically:
· an optical sorting system;
· two successive Trommels to separate plastic bottles from paper and newsprint;
· a magnetic and Eddy current separator duo (for aluminium drink cans and food cans).

The start-up investment for the facility, which has a treatment capacity of 85,000 tonnes per annum, was €22 million invested by Onyx. It keeps a staff of 45 busy every day.

The Alton MRF is one of the final facilities to be built under "Project Integra", the handle for the unique integrated system put into place for around 30-year period by Onyx and the County of Hampshire to manage the county's household waste (population of 1.2 million).

It is the final piece in the network of ultra-modern facilities built by the county in the last five years. Others include the Chineham energy recovery facility, the Portsmouth materials recovery and recycling facility and the Little Bushywarren composting centre. Two new energy recovery facilities will open for business soon near Southampton and Portsmouth.

In 2004, Onyx activities in the UK posting growth and generated 11% of the turnover of Onyx, the waste management division of Veolia Environnement.


Onyx, Veolia Environnement's waste management division, is the only operator that provides solid, liquid, non-hazardous and hazardous waste management solutions to both local communities and industry. Its 71,000 employees in 34 countries provide waste management and logistics services, including collection, wastewater management, cleaning and flow control, and treat and recover waste. Onyx posted sales of €6.2 billion in 2004.


The County of Hampshire's integrated waste management system

In the late 80s, the County of Hampshire was faced with a serious waste treatment crisis: landfills were on the verge of saturation, incineration plants built in the 70s had fallen out of compliance with the new EU regulations on emissions and waste volumes continued to rise.

In 1993, Hampshire County Council and 13 District Councils solicited the opinions of the county's population to find out how Hampshire residents thought the waste problem should be solved.

Their input led to the creation, in 1995, of an integrated system branded "Project Integra". The system was adopted for around 30 years by Hampshire's 11 District Councils, the Unitary Authorities of Portsmouth and Southampton, Hampshire County Council and the private-sector company Hampshire Waste Services, an Onyx UK subsidiary.

The integrated system set specific targets, with a view to
· minimising the production of waste in Hampshire;
· promoting materials recovery, composting and energy recovery (incineration combined with electric and/or thermal energy production);
· restricting the amount of waste sent to residual waste landfills.

The county currently has a recycling rate above 28%, against 18% for the rest of Great Britain. Over 90% of Hampshire households have their recyclable waste picked up directly through a door-to-door collection service.


Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE and NYSE: VE) is world leader in environmental services. The company has operations all around the world and provides tailored solutions to meet the needs of industrial and municipal customers in four complementary segments: water management, waste management, energy management and passenger transportation. Veolia Environnement recorded revenue of €€24.7 billion in 2004 and has 250,000 employees.

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