Phototheque VEOLIA - Alexis Duclos

In Ludres in France, residual waste finds a second life

Posted on 26 July 2016.

In Ludres, Meurthe-et-Moselle, waste that used to go to landfill is now recycled. It is transformed into secondary raw materials and fuel for cement plants.

In Veolia’s high-performance sorting center in Ludres, residual waste recovery slashes the amount of waste going to landfill by at least 50%.

Introduced in August 2015, France’s energy transition legislation focuses on material recovery to reduce the amount of so-called residual waste, which is considered untreatable, and eventually goes to landfill.

The text states that "the national waste prevention and management policy is an essential lever in the transition towards a circular economy."

Among its goals: "Increase the amount of waste recovered in the form of materials, in particular organic, by directing it into recovery channels, respectively 55% in 2020 and 65% in 2025 for non-hazardous, non inert waste, measured in mass.".

France is already approaching this waste recovery rate in its high performance sorting centers. And some have already exceeded the 50% threshold.

Additional sorting of residual waste

With additional sorting, these plants recover waste that was once considered residual. This is the role of the Ludres site, in Meurthe-et-Moselle, which is operated by Veolia.

The plant treats upholstered waste, such as sofas and mattresses, once sent to landfill.

Collected from the surrounding regions (Vosges, Moselle, Bas-Rhin) by the environmental organization Éco-Mobilier, this commonplace industrial waste is then sorted with the precision of a Swiss clock.

Waste recycling or recovery?

Every year, no less than 20,000 tonnes of waste are treated there. Thanks to these excellent results, the volume of waste going to landfill has fallen by 50%.

But what does the Ludres high performance sorting center do with it? In particular it becomes secondary raw materials (paper, cardboard, wood, ferrous and non-ferrous metals) and solid recovered fuels.

The fuel for example feeds the nearby cement kilns which use large amounts of fuel. The Ludres plant also converts the heat produced by burning waste into electricity.

In the end, it all adds up to sustainable waste management that more than exceeds the regulatory targets!