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Environmental Services

Waste Not

Viridor operates out of 320 facilities scattered around the UK.   Well known for its refuse recycling capabilities, the company has a very simple approach to the material they process; they 'transform waste'.

The company says once there was waste, now there are valuable resources that society must challenge itself to reuse, recycle and recover.   Viridor, with some innovative services, is now an integral part of this transformation. 

This is amply demonstrated at the Milton Keynes material recycling facility, which is owned by the council, but operated by Viridor.   This was the first custom-built recycling centre built in Europe.  Today over a hundred dustcarts visit the site with recyclable domestic waste.  The 374 tonnes a day they bring onto site is methodically and carefully sorted, graded and recycled. 

Two articulated wheel loaders (a Bell L18 and a Volvo L90B) load the mixed material into a bag splitter and conveyor belt, which carries the material into the top hall of the building.   Here a trommel separates the heavier objects before the material goes through a series of manual picking lines and mechanical sorting processes. 

Ferrous objects are separated by magnets, non-ferrous objects repelled by inductive current.   Material is fed through a series of ballistic decks and grills that separate the plastic, cardboard and paper products.  All material is finally quality controlled to ensure no contaminates are present, before baling and shipping.

VAST INCREASE

Most of the high-grade mixed paper material goes to China by container, with some material shipped to India.   Other paper products go to UK paper mills.  Mixed plastics are taken to Rochester in Kent for reprocessing, and any material unsuitable for recycling is used to generate power in a local energy from waste facility.

“If you look on YouTube at the film made 22 years ago, when the site was first built, you will appreciate the vast increase in the volume of material we can now recycle, compared with then.   The site is extremely efficient and can easily cope with material that was previously sent to landfill. Well over 90 percent of the material collected now is reused, the remainder is turned into fuel,” says site supervisor Jon Melling.  

HIGH QUALITY SORTING

“We collect glass separately, but all other recyclable material is collected on masse, with the minimum inconvenience to the rate payers.  We have 38 operatives on site, many of them sorting material by hand to ensure maximum quality control.  The huge array of mechanical processes that supplement this procedure ensures everything we produce is of the highest quality.   We are transforming waste into a valuable resource.'

Melling is responsible for all outside purchasing and that includes the maintenance of the vehicles used on site. There are three Linde forklifts on site, two of which are converted for bale lifting. These machines are worked extremely hard under very harsh conditions as Melling points out.   “The forklift repairs are down on the books as a two man job, but I know I have a specialist in Paul Davis at Pirtek Milton Keynes, who is able to replace the two 3/8", 4.6m lift hoses on his own,” he says.  

TWO MAN JOB

“Unfortunately, as the forklifts scoop material up, some of it is ultimately pushed into the belly of the machine, where it gets trapped in the two hose drums causing friction and damage to the hydraulic hoses.   To remove the drums and replace the hoses is a huge undertaking and means the virtual removal of most of the internal parts of the forklift.   I know I can phone or text Paul directly, even out of hours or at weekends, and have him on site immediately. He's one of those people I can trust to do the work, and he will always give me an honest ETA if he is ever stuck on a long-winded job.”

 

 

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