Onyx Environmental invests in waste handling nationwide

The impact of the Landfill Directive coupled with the tough targets for waste minimisation and recycling set by the Government, has stimulated major investment by local authorities and waste management companies across the UK. Onyx Envronmental Onyx, part of Veolia Environment*, which has companies operating in all of the industry sectors. With a sizeable presence throughout Britain, Europe and the World, Onyx employs 69,000 people world-wide, servicing 36 countries shows how seriously the waste industry takes its role through three facilities which have passed notable milestones in their progress.

In Hampshire, Onyx Environmental Group's new £13 million material recovery facility (MRF) near Alton has reached new milestones in the construction schedule.

The latest developments to the MRF have included the installation of two trommels. These interior drums will act as the front line filter at the plant separating plastic bottles and cans from paper. The recyclables will pass through the rotating trommels. The cans and plastic bottles will drop through a hole in the front section, paper products will work along the trommel and pass through another hole, leaving the oversized material, such as cardboard, to be filtered out through the end section.

Completion of the steelworks and the cladding to the building has recently been achieved and over the next few months the MRF equipment will be installed inside the building with a final completion during autumn this year. The kerbside collection schemes of "dry" materials like paper, card, plastic and cans have been set up by local authorities and now cover over 95% of Hampshire households. Alton is the second of two MRF operated by Onyx. Collected material is already delivered to the Portsmouth Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where it is separated and sold to recycling processors to be made into new products. The Portsmouth MRF currently receives 72,000 tonnes of recyclable material per year.

"It is exciting to be able to see this new cutting edge facility taking shape," said John Collis, Director of Onyx Hampshire.

"When it is completed later this year, the Alton MRF will provide much needed additional processing capacity and enable us and the residents of Hampshire to work towards achieving the goal to recycle 40% and beyond of the county's household waste."

Once operational, Onyx states that the new MRF will be the most advanced in Europe with the capacity to process 85,000 tonnes of recyclable material collected from households across the county.

Sheffield opening

In Sheffield., Onyx has also notched up notable progress with the opening on 23 January of a new MRF which serves the city's waste collection and disposal. The MRF Process flow invclves a mateials loading bay and walking floor hopper. The collection vehicles unload in the material delivery bay. Materials are loaded into the walking floor hopper by a JCB. The hopper moves the material forwards onto a conveyor belt.

An elevating conveyor takes the materials up to the first sorting process. A metering drum machinery ensures an even flow on to the conveyor by rotating in opposite directions and throwing waste back down the conveyor if the pile is too high to travel up on to the next conveyor.

An OCC (Old Corrugated Cardboard) Screen with rotating fins riddles out smaller pieces of cardboard, leaving only larger pieces of cardboard to travel onto the next conveyor. The larger pieces of cardboard are then taken by an OCC conveyor and dropped into a storage bay. An elevating conveyor takes smaller pieces of paper and card that drop through the OCC process on to the next stage of sorting At the fines screens stage, the pamphlets are riddled from the shredded and fine materials. The materials that are left on the conveyor move into the Deinking screen where rubber grated hi-traction rollers separate large but light pieces of paper e.g. magazines and newspapers. A conveyor takes the materials which are classed as "unders" (Heavy Folded Magazines, Catalogues, Non Paper & Card) into one of the manual picking cabin.

The Paper Sort Control Panel spreads materials which are known as "overs" (Newspapers, pamphlets, thin card e.g. cereal packets) out equally over the conveyor belt before it goes on to the next sorting process.

Optical paper sorter

The optical paper sorter works out the colour of the paper and card travelling ontheconveyor. This machine uses high power halogen bulbs and a camera to assess how much light is reflected from a piece of paper or card. If it does not reflect much light, it is a darker colour so things like brown paper, brown envelopes and card are picked out at this stage. The camera sends a message to a stream of jets further along the conveyor to tell them to blow the darker material off the conveyor. The materials that are blown off the conveyor at this stage fall through to a special collection bay.

Anything which has passed through the Optical Paper Sorter and Deinking Screen will pass through a picking cabin. Two people do a manual sort to remove any pieces of plastic and any remaining cardboard which has got through the system. Other phases involve paper sorter jets and the final conveyor which takes mixed news and pamphlets into the bulk paper bay after it has passed through all the sorting processes.

From the Bulk Paper Bay JCBs load the sorted paper into articulated lorries. The paper is then taken away to make new paper products.

*Veolia Environment lays claim to be the world leader in environmental services with 302,000 employees operating in over 100 countries worldwide. Its activities are focused on water, transport, energy and waste management.



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