Recycling “scandal” for Veolia after leaked email

A leaked email has allegedly shown that waste services business Veolia has diverted material intended for recycling to its incinerator in Sheffield.

Union GMB claimed it had seen an email revealing the redirect. Veolia, which has a contract with Sheffield City Council, reportedly made the decision in 2011 to divert recyclable waste from their household waste centres to its own Energy from Waste incinerator.

Recycling levels have reportedly plummeted in the Sheffield catchment, and Veolia has allegedly struggled to get enough fuel to fulfill the company’s commitment to provide district heating for the city.

Environment Agency regulations demand that companies perform as much recycling as can reasonably be achieved.

GMB has said Veolia’s actions are a “scandal”, particularly as GMB members at Veolia’s recycling plant receive a bonus payment if they meet their recycling targets.

Lee Parkinson, GMB organiser, said: “We accept we have to burn waste in the incinerator, indeed it’s our own members who work on that operation and it’s a good model for the city.
“But these increasing diversions are coming from the household recycle sites and that is always going have a negative impact on recycling in Sheffield.”

Peter Davies, senior organiser, added: “We have long said this contract is in a mess and this latest leak makes our members task of increasing those recycle rates look almost impossible.

“The people of Sheffield need to know when they bring their waste it is recycled in the main – not deliberately diverted and burned to boost Veolia’s profits.

“Veolia appear to be burning things that could be recycled – adding to pollution and avoiding paying our members any bonus at the same time.

“We call on Sheffield City Council to be transparent about the recycling requirements in the contract with Veolia.

“This isn’t just the waste that’s going up in smoke, it’s our members’ pay with it and we will now challenge that.
“The good people of Sheffield and our own members who carry out their recycling have no real control over recycling in this city and that is a scandal.

“Veolia and the Council need to sort this obvious conflict of interest out and sort it now.”

Veolia has been contacted for comment.