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Our exposé wasn't a load of old rubbish

Chris Jackson | 16:10 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

A Premier Waste lorry dumps

Supposedly safe recycled waste being dumped onto a County Durham tip in 2008

Finally this week news that a discredited waste recycling method is being abandoned.

Back in 2008 Inside Out exposed how Premier Waste had been dumping potentially harmful waste close to people's homes.

It was recycling household rubbish into what it called compost-like output. By shredding, filtering and heating up waste in massive digestors it was supposed to become a safe soil conditioner for use as a top layer for restoring refuse tips and even growing plants.

But our award winning investigation by producer Dan Farthing exposed how the digestors were failing to sanitise the waste properly.

The waste was giving off a powerful stench and we had it analysed after complaints from worried residents.

Not only did it contain potentially toxic material, even to the naked eye, it was obviously full of plastics etc.

We tried growing plants in it and they ended up stunted and gnarled, compared with a control sample.

Premier Waste's advanced recycling centre with one of the digestor towers

After our programme the company was taken back under full council management and the digestors were taken out of service until such time they could satisfy the authorities it could recycle waste safely.

For two years attempts were made to rectify the problems and in August 2010 Defra finally granted the company permission to restart operations.

However Premier Waste has now admitted it was a loss making venture and this week announced it is paving the way to abandon the whole system, with the potential closure of the plant at Thornley.


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