The BlueMAC MRF at Falkirk Council processing co-mingled dry recyclables

The Customer:

Headed by Waste Services Co-ordinator John Kirkhope, there is clearly a focus on preparing the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Bonnybridge, Falkirk for the future, investing in state of the art technology which will help clean up and separate all the different materials arriving at site, so they can be passed onto reprocessors to turn back into new products. Any income generated from the materials will help offset the investment made in the specialised equipment.

The Challenge:

The MRF is taking in around 50 tonnes of Co-mingled Dry Recyclables (CDR) per day from the Council’s kerbside recycling collection. The challenge is to sort this mixed stream of material into commodities for resale and remove any contamination i.e. material that shouldn’t have been placed in the collection. The commodities within the CDR are namely ferrous and non-ferrous metals, mixed plastics, cardboard and paper, all of which need to be separated out. An important task during separation is the identification and removal of any contamination which can affect the quality of the final separated product.

The Solution:

After going through a competitive tender process Falkirk Council have invested significantly on new equipment to sort the CDR material. The main part of this investment was made in a BlueMAC recycling facility, purchased through Blue Scotland and incorporating a 6 bay twin side picking line, over-band magnet and eddy current separators, as well as a number of conveyors to move the material.

The Process:

The CDR is deposited at the MRF, Monday to Friday by a fleet of Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCV’s) and is stockpiled for processing throughout the day. The processing capability of the plant is adjusted accordingly to maximise the quality of the anal product allowing the team to process everything which comes in and also allowing for general cleaning of the equipment as required.

  • The material is initially loaded into a moving floor hopper
  • This feeds a 5m long trommel, extracting the <40mm fine material from the waste stream.
  • The remaining material moves onto an incline conveyor before entering into the manual picking area.
  • Under the main manual picking area, there are 5 holding bays which are used to hold different items picked from the material stream and are adjusted to suit operational requirements; e.g. contaminants, large cardboard and/ or mixed plastics.
  • From there the remaining material; metal, paper and light card, is transported via a second incline conveyor to an over-band magnet which extracts any ferrous metal, predominantly steel cans.
  • The next step is an eddy current separator which extracts the valuable non-ferrous, primarily aluminum cans.
  • There is a final picking bay as a quality check within this process, removing any remaining contaminants to leave a high quality clean paper and light card product containing minimal impurities.

What the customer thought:

John Kirkhope, Waste Services Co-ordinator

"A strong operational relationship has been fostered with Blue through the project, and the service we have received from the team at Blue has been superb. There has been very good communication links from the start. A member of the Blue team has also regularly attended project meetings to provide updates throughout the planning and build. Furthermore, the plant was installed in 8 days, and I would like to commend the engineers and all those involved in the project, as the challenges faced were significant, yet they did it on time. Overall, an effective and efficient process."

Created By
Megan Lawrence
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