Outside visit to Veolia MRF

Thu, Aug 3rd 2023 at 7:00 pm - 9:15 pm

Following talk some 15 months ago we get a visit to see the recovery Facility in operation


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3rd August 2023 Site Visit to Veolia MRF – Lesley Taylor

Lesley had “talked rubbish” to the Club back in March 22, so the 10 members who attended this site visit had a repeat of the brief video and a quick reminder of the issues facing this Materials Recovery Facility at Forest Town, handling 85000 tons per annum, using a mixed recycling system. They take the waste from the 7 District and Borough Councils in Nottinghamshire and one of the greatest challenges is contamination (the wrong items or materials being put in household recycling bins, still between 10 and 20%) The ‘Recyclers’ to whom their products are sent have very demanding quality standards (e.g., 0.5% contamination levels for the paper bales)

She talked us through the process again with the aid of a wall schematic, identifying their 4 main ‘products’: Paper and cardboard (Trommel); Steel (Ferrous magnet); Aluminium cans and Aerosols (Eddy current machine) and Plastic (Optical plastic sorter).  So, we donned our PPE of high vis jackets, headphones and receiver (so we could hear Lesley’s commentary in the noisy environment within the MRF) and hard hats. So the tours started moving from the education block to the MRF, with us following Lesley like the ‘Pied Piper’, up the external steps then into the Facility. They have 80 staff who work a 2-shift system from 06.00 to Midnight, some working hard graft manually sorting the materials and others operating 360-degree mechanical handling machines, bale handling trucks etc. It is a big plant, but is well labelled and organised with the impressive statistic that it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for the lorry load of waste brought in to be processed into a bale going out (50% of their output is paper bales). I believe the thing that had the most impact for our members was the quantity of plastic bags, bin liners and ‘soft plastics’ that were creating the contamination previously mentioned, plus the quarter of a million ‘dirty nappies’ they received last year!

Other interesting items mentioned was the Lincolnshire company who were able to shred juice cartons into carpet underlay; The Energy Recovery Facility at Stafford that burns (850oC) about 300000 Tonnes per year delivered to Power stations and even the ash produced used in road aggregate; Overall less than 5% of waste now goes to Landfill.

A number of questions flowed and Lesley handled them all, so Rob gave a brief vote of thanks suggesting that the site visit complemented the talk we had experienced and our party applauded Lesley in the normal manner.           AR

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