Rubbish is the latest and the sexiest building material, according to this £100m recycling plant-cum-theme park on the island of Majorca
Waste is the raw material of the 21st century. So proclaims the regional government of the Mediterranean island of Majorca, which has gone all out to turn waste recycling into a cool, sophisticated activity.

Last month the government completed what it says is the most modern waste-handling plant in Europe at a cost of £100m. Designed by Barcelona architect Crivillers i Arquitectes, the plant is laid out as an upmarket "environmental technologies park", complete with stylish visitor centre and monorail that transports visitors through the complex.

The entire facility, located near the island's capital of Palma, comprises eight separate recycling plants, including an incinerator, a composter, a methane plants and facilities for recovering metals, polythene, PVCu, glass and aggregate. As the plant is intended to treat waste from the entire 3640 km2 island, the projected recycling targets are impressive. The incinerator will generate enough electricity to light a town of 120,000 inhabitants, while the recycling plants have the capacity to produce 1030 tonnes of iron and 42,000 tonnes of aggregate a year. Hazardous materials will be built up into a mound and capped with topsoil and plants.

As designed by Crivillers, the buildings are basic, cleanly detailed industrial sheds with insitu concrete walls and crinkly tin roofs. The visitor centre, however, is more sophisticated. It has an open, cubic structural frame that allows a variety of accommodation modules to be slotted into it With its showcase treatment plant, the Majorcan government hopes to transform public attitudes to consumer products from "use and discard" to "discard and use".