A NEW £20 million “super” recycling centre could be built in Hampshire, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The Echo understands civic leaders are targeting land in the borough of Eastleigh to host a centralised waste disposal centre – known as a materials recovery facility (MRF).

Civic chiefs say the all-in-one facility could help reduce the cost of waste disposal across Hampshire and boost the county’s poor recycling rates.

It could also allow residents across Hampshire to recycle materials such as yoghurt pots, meat trays and possibly even glass as part of their kerbside collections.

Early talks have already begun, with Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth councils all pledging their financial support to the scheme, if it proves to be viable.

Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “We are exploring options for the future of waste infrastructure in Hampshire with all our partners.

“Should plans for a new MRF progress, the expectation is that Hampshire would be able to increase the range of recyclable materials accepted.

“This, in turn, has the potential to improve recycling rates and reduce the overall costs of disposing of waste.”

Councillor Humby insisted that no final decision has been taken on a so-called “super MRF”.

According to a report, civic chiefs are considering closing the county’s two current MRF centres, in Alton and Portsmouth, in place of one centralised facility.

Although the report did not give details of potential savings or locations, it did suggest the scheme would reduce expenditure in the long term.

The report also suggested that the building of a new centralised facility would allow the two current centres to remain open while construction takes place.

The council predicts this could save £7.5 million a year compared to other options, including revamping the current sites, due to the cost of paying to use other facilities while the work takes place.

The cost of a new single facility is thought to be around £20 million – with Hampshire pledging up to £14 million, and Southampton and Portsmouth footing the remaining £6 million

Civic chiefs hope a single facility will also boost recycling rates across Hampshire.

In 2015-2016, 39 per cent of waste in the Hampshire authority area was recycled – lower than neighbouring West Sussex, Wiltshire and half the rate of Dorset.

In Southampton and Portsmouth, the figure was just 27 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

Commenting on the plans, Southampton City Council’s waste boss, Cllr Jacqui Rayment, said: “It’s an excellent idea.”

Another to comment on the plans was Keith House, leader of Eastleigh Borough Council.

Responding to the possibility that the centre could be built in the borough of Eastleigh, he said: "It all depends on the site: traffic issues are the significant issue with any proposition like this, given the number of heavy vehicle movements.

"It could be perfect or a disaster and there’s no way of commenting on the detail without the site information."