Dow to turn rubbish into money with new deal

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A WASTE management company from Cumbernauld has signed its first contract to supply fuel to European power stations and is already winning further work on the back of the deal.

Dow Waste Management, run by brother and sister Marshall and Sheila Dow, started life as a wholesale fruit and vegetable merchant in 1969 before diversifying into handling waste.

The company has invested £1.5 million in equipment to turn rubbish that cannot be recycled into “refuse-derived fuel” (RDF) that can then be burned in power stations.

The first RDF shipment will sail from Forth Ports’ Carron dock in Grangemouth this week, bound for utilities companies on the continent.

Shanks, the FTSE 250 waste manager that was founded in Scotland in the 1880s as a construction firm, has also signed up with Dow to use its RDF facilities following on from the power station contract.

Dow already recycles domestic and commercial waste, with 85 per cent of its business coming from the private sector and 15 per cent from the public sector, primarily from local authorities in the Central Belt.

Sheila Dow said she hoped to win further public sector contracts on the back of the RDF work, as she aims to grow company turnover from the present £4.8m a year.

She added: “We have invested considerable time developing direct relationships and contracts with utility companies across Europe who are well placed to receive this form of fuel supply direct to their power stations.”

The company, which has sponsored the Scottish dry-slope ski championships, is benefiting from the Scottish Government’s “zero waste plan”, which was introduced in June 2010.

Under Holyrood’s targets, 70 per cent of waste should be recycled by 2025, with a maximum of 5 per cent of rubbish being sent to landfill sites.

Dow said the waste being packaged up by its RDF system, which it claimed was the only one of its kind in Scotland, would normally be sent to landfill.

News of Dow’s first shipments being prepared for Europe comes just weeks after environment secretary Richard Lochhead opened a “materials recycling facility” at one of Scotland’s largest landfill sites at Polmont, near Falkirk.

The £20m facility, operated by Avondale Environmental, will process 200,000 tonnes of waste every year – the equivalent of all of the rubbish put into black bags in Glasgow.

The plant will be powered by methane gas produced by rubbish in the dump.

Phase two of the company’s advanced waste treatment centre will include a “thermal drying facility”, which will be used to make higher-quality fuels out of rubbish and organic matter.