New waste treatment plant inaugurated in Milà (Menorca)

Inaugurada la nueva planta de tratamiento de residuos de Milà (Menorca)

The mechanical-biological treatment installations at the new waste treatment plant, the only one of its kind on the island, process the waste produced by the entire population of Menorca, taking into account seasonal variations. Over 70% of the rest fraction and 90% of the light packaging fraction are recovered for recycling at the facility.

The Milà Waste Management Area now has a new mechanical-biological treatment plant for waste management and recovery. The facility was inaugurated on April 6, subsequent to the completion of the upgrading work carried out by the UTE Es Milà consortium. The consortium, composed of PreZero España and Adalmo, and a number of local companies, also holds the concession contract for operation of the plant. 

The new treatment plant belongs to the Menorca Waste and Energy Consortium and will enable management of waste generated in Menorca during peak and off-peak seasons. The completion of the plant upgrading project, which began in January 2019 and required investment of over 20 million euros (including VAT), will optimise organic waste treatment and enhance separation of the different materials from five waste fractions for subsequent recycling, thereby minimising the quantity of waste sent to landfill. 

Inauguration of the Milà facility 

Susana Mora, President of the Menorca Island Council, presided over the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by Josep Juaneda, Councillor for the Environment and Biosphere Reserve and President of Menorca Waste and Energy Consortium, and Esteve Barceló, Menorca’s Environment Manager.

The Government of the Balearic Islands was represented by Miquel Mir, Regional Minister of Environment and Territory, Sebastià Sansó, Director General of Waste and Environmental Education, and Antoni Alorda, President of the Balearic Islands Environment Commission, all of whom had a direct involvment in the procedures associated with these facilities. 

They were accompanied by representatives of the concessionaire, Rafael San Martín, PreZero Españas’s Head of Public Accounts, and Juan Alba, CEO at Aldalmo. The ceremony was also attended by a number of Menorca’s municipal mayors and mayoresses, as well as members of the Board of Directors of UTE Es Milà.

President of the Menorca Island Council, Susana Mora, pointed out that: “Focusing on sustainability and working to mitigate the effects of climate change requires an improvement in waste management. The upgrading of the Milà plant, which we are inaugurating today, is a step towards achieving this goal and puts Menorca in the vanguard of waste management. We still have a long way to go, but initiatives like this help us to advance towards a society more committed to its surroundings and the environment. A society committed to the future.”

Josep Juaneda, Menorca Councillor for the Environment and Biosphere Reserve and President of the Menorca Waste and Energy Consortium, added that: “In line with the change in the waste management model being promoted in Menorca, these facilities will help to complete the waste separation process that begins at home and ends with the recovery, recycling and reuse of materials to minimise waste disposal in landfills.”

“This is a step forward for the Balearic Islands, and for Menorca in particular, on the road to a circular economy. It will result in improved sorting and, consequently, enhanced recycling, thereby reducing the quantity of waste ending up in landfills,” said Miquel Mir, Balearic Islands Minister for Environment and Territory, who congratulated the Menorca Waste and Energy Consortium for undertaking this initiative, which is in line with the Balearic Islands Waste Act and the Menorca Master Plan for Non-Hazardous Waste.

planta de tratamiento de residuos Menorca PreZero

The treatment facilities are made up of the reception and feed-in area, an area for separation according to size, density, colour and composition, an organic matter stabilisation and refining area and a baling area, which produces bales of the different types of recovered waste to be sent for valorisation. 

Rafael San Martín, PreZero España’s Head of Public Accounts, noted that “The new facility doubles the size of the complex and incorporates new machinery and technology to enhance waste treatment, with the goal of making Menorca a benchmark in waste management.” He added that, “the circular economy is the model we want to move towards, and this requires the commitment of all actors involved: public authorities, the private sector and citizens”.

Installations at the new plant

The new facilities at the mechanical-biological treatment plant inaugurated on April 6 at the Milà complex guarantee the achievement of the treatment targets set out in the master plan for the prevention and management of non-hazardous waste in Menorca (2019-2025). This plan forms part of the waste management framework set out in Act 8/2019 of the Balearic Islands on waste and contaminated land and EU Directive 2018/851 on waste. 

In addition to the new mechanical-biological treatment plant, which manages the rest fraction, paper and board, glass, light packaging and organic matter, the Milá Waste Management Area has an incinerator for controlled waste disposal; a leachate treatment plant, controlled landfill cells, and an environmental classroom for training and dissemination aimed at bringing environmental care closer to all stakeholders: businesses, associations, the education sector, researchers and the general public.

Mechanical-biological treatment process 

The mechanical-biological treatment plant has the capacity to process 50,000 tonnes of rest fraction per annum (35 tonnes per hour), from which more than 70% of the material is recovered for recycling or recovery. The plant has the capacity to process over 4,000 tonnes of light packaging per annum and recovers 90% of this fraction for subsequent recycling.

The facility is designed for efficiency rates to reduce landfilling to 30% in the case of the rest fraction (mixed waste) and 10% in the case of light packaging. 

During the first year of operation (2021), performance exceeded the design parameters. Only around 26% of the waste entering the plant was sent to landfill, rather than the 30% initially calculated. 

The end result is the recovery and/or preparation for recycling of different types of waste, such as biostabilised waste, composite materials, natural plastic, coloured plastic, PET, plastic film, mixed plastic, metal packaging, aluminium, tetrabriks, glass, paper and board.

A further distinctive feature of the new plant is that it envisages the possible recovery of part of the waste as solid recovered fuel (SRF), which would have an impact on reducing the percentage of waste going to landfill.