Orihuela’s landfill-free waste plant

Approximate location of the lands where the regional waste treatment plant of the Vega Baja would be built Credit: Tony Sevilla

After a break of 16 years, the Vega Baja UTE will present its plan for a waste treatment plant to the Vega Baja Sustainable Consortium.

This plant is designed to manage the urban waste produced by the 27 municipalities in the consortium, with Orihuela chosen as the location and Torremendo as the nearest community.

Waste without landfills

Initially, the project proposes a waste valorisation plant without a landfill, meaning non-recyclable waste won’t be disposed of in landfills. Instead, the facility will process and valorise waste from the consortium’s municipalities, including the Provincial Council of Alicante and the Valencian Government.

Landfill strategy

The intentional absence of landfill facilities in the project is strategic. Municipalities in the region oppose landfill projects, especially Torremendo, which has resisted them since the 1990s.

Rising costs

In recent months, rising transportation and waste disposal costs have pressured municipal representatives to find a solution. For example, Orihuela, the municipality generating the second-highest amount of solid urban waste in the region, is set to double its transportation and disposal costs this year, from three to six million euros.

Waste disposal dynamics

Currently, all waste generated in the Valencian Community’s populous regions is transported outside its boundaries for treatment and disposal. However, the lack of waste treatment facilities in Bajo Segura has prompted a consensus among political parties, avoiding public debate on the issue.

Consortium consensus

Despite political differences, the Consortium has united major parties in support of the project. Mayor Pepe Vegara of Orihuela has chosen not to comment. The Vega Baja UTE, primarily owned by Prezero, is considering revisiting the 2008 site proposal, covering 500,000 square metres on the Orihuela-Murcia border. However, local opposition and environmental concerns may complicate this decision.

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Written by

Eva Alvarez