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Case study: A flagship facility

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Viridor’s most recent Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), opened last July at Ford near Arundel, shares its PFI recycling and wastes handling contract with West Sussex CC.

Ford has a capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year and recovers at least 95% of the material delivered.

It has allowed councils to extend the amount and range of materials that householders can recycle through kerbside collection, to include liquid food cartons, aluminium foil, aerosols and glass bottles.

Viridor says a detailed input specification was agreed with councils from the outset to ensure the MRF was designed as fit for purpose. 

The waste delivered is monitored and quick action can be taken if inappropriate items are detected. Feedback is then given to collection crews and householders.

At Ford material is delivered to the tipping hall, loaded into a feed hopper and manually pre-sorted to remove oversized cardboard, plastic film, bags and any unwanted waste.

Trommel and ballistic separators then target materials by size and shape respectively, while magnets and eddy currents take out the ferrous and aluminium containers.

TiTECH optical sorter units detect colour and separate polymers such as transparent and opaque bottles.

Infrastructure project manager Benjamin Fule says: “Although we target four different plastics at the moment, the system has been designed so we can respond to any changes in market specifications or consumers’ habits.”

Glass is extracted early in the process to avoid contamination, using technology that leaves other materials free from damage that occurs with traditional crushers.

The glass processing unit reduces glass to approximately 5% of its volume, rendering it sharp free and safe to handle so it can be sold without further processing.

Manual sorting is kept to a minimum, making it possible to run the plant 24 hours a day with no loss in performance. 

According to Viridor, Ford has allowed councils to access modern recycling infrastructure but with capital costs spread over a 25-year PFI contract, while the recycling industry is able to commit capital investment towards resource management.

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