Blue Group chooses sensor-based sorting technology from TOMRA Recycling as part of Cireco’s multimillion pound MRF upgrade
A multimillion-pound plant refurb and investment in new equipment from TOMRA Recycling has helped boost material recovery rates and more than doubled capacity at Cireco’s state-of-the-art MRF in Dunfermline, Fife, on Scotland’s east coast.
The MRF has been designed as a high-capacity dual plant to process two Dry Mixed Recycling (DMR) waste streams collected from c.160,000 Fife households. On alternate weeks, the plant processes mixed cans and plastics and then and paper and cardboard (fibre).
The facility is owned and operated by Cireco, one of Scotland’s leading waste management specialists. Cireco worked in partnership with Blue Group, the UK’s leading supplier of materials handling equipment for the recycling industry, who redesigned the plant and managed the refurb project.
Having worked with TOMRA Recycling on several projects over the past six years, Blue Group recommended installing four TOMRA AUTOSORT® units as part of the upgrade. The units combine near infrared (NIR) and visual spectrometers (VIS) to accurately and quickly recognise and separate different materials according to their material type and colour, extracting high-purity high-value end fractions.
The AUTOSORT® units have been programmed to target OCC, mixed paper, news and pams and office white from the paper and cardboard infeed stream, as well as aluminium, ferrous, and plastics sorted by colour and polymer from the mixed cans and plastics infeed stream. Cireco plans to investigate how it can assist other collectors of different comingled recycling streams in dealing with their material.
Prior to the refurb, Cireco relied heavily on manual handpicking but this limited the volume of infeed material that could be processed at the plant. Now, the investment in the MRF and the new sorting equipment has more than doubled the plant’s capacity. The mixed cans and plastics infeed is now processed at 12tph and the paper and cardboard infeed at 9tph. Material recovery rates have risen with Cireco now benefiting from market leading prices due to the high quality and segregation of materials. All of this has been achieved without any additional labour costs.
Austin Carey, Managing Director at Blue Group (Scotland), comments: “TOMRA Recycling is the market leader in sensor-based sorting solutions, and we’ve had great success using TOMRA’s equipment in previous projects. We were confident that the AUTOSORT® was the best available solution for Cireco’s MRF upgrade. Scotland is preparing for the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) next year and the experts at TOMRA have helped to put in place a futureproof solution which is capable of adapting to changes in infeed material that may result from the roll out of the DRS.”
Robin Baird, Chief Operating Officer at Cireco, adds: “Working in partnership with TOMRA from inception to delivery allowed us to deliver a first-class facility designed for our specific requirements and material. By taking the time to listen to our needs and fully sample our material, TOMRA ensured the package offered would deliver on our exacting standards. Our installation period covered the middle of the global pandemic and, despite this, TOMRA still hit installation targets and deadlines which was critical to our business due to increased waste volumes. We look forward to continuing to work with them on future projects."
Upon completion of the new facility, Cireco – in partnership with Fife Council – has continued to look at ways to further enhance the sorting of hard-to-recycle plastics. This led to a successful application to the Scottish Government's Recycling Improvement Fund, which will see further TOMRA Recycling sensor-based equipment for the separation of flexible plastics being installed in February 2022. Fife will become the first local authority area in Scotland to take this material at the kerbside. This innovative project will complete Cireco’s commitment to offering a wide range of processing options to local authority clients.
A timelapse video of the MRF upgrade recorded by Blue Group can be found here.