Sims goes large with WEEE

Sims has just opened a giant WEEE facility in South Wales - boasting a capacity of 100,000 tonnes, it claims to be the largest of its kind in the world

Sims Recycling Solut-ions has opened a new state-of-the-art £12M WEEE facility at Newport, South Wales. With a capacity to process 100,000tpa of material, it is believed to be the largest of its type in the world.

While the infrastructure comes at a challenging time for the waste sector with commodity price erosion and lacklustre demand for recycled materials, Sims believes its new plant is better positioned to be effective during these hard times because of its ability to offer best quality recycled raw materials directly back to industry.

The facility has been designed by Sims' european technical experts, but adapted to comply with changes to UK regulations and new developments. The plant will be able to convert electrical and electronic waste equipment, ranging from vacuum cleaners, radios, stereos, computers and TVs, into valuable raw materials for the manufacturing sector.

Technical know-how
In terms of the technology employed, the waste material initially enters a pre-sorting line, where hazardous waste such as batteries and non-shreddable items are removed. Once this has been carried out, the material passes through a primary shredding line which separates ferrous, non-ferrous metals and plastics to a size of 60mm.

A secondary shredding process further shreds the material to 30mm and removes dirt, wood and cardboard. The material is then passed over a water table, which separates heavy copper, plastics and printed circuit boards. Once the materials have been fully separated, the residual plastics are then treated further to refine the material into saleable products.

Sims says that the Newport plant is a shining example of how technology can reduce the effect of climate change. For every tonne of computers recycled through the facility, over five tonnes of C02 emissions will be saved through using much more efficient secondary recycled materials in substitution of virgin sourced materials.

The plant has been designed to convert the material that passes through it into individual saleable pure raw materials, ranging from steel to aluminium to single polymer plastics.

Even the precious metal bearing residue that is sent to refiners for recovery of gold and silver is optimised to give the refiner a blend of fuel substitutes to save the use of primary energy sources.

Refurb facility
The plant will also house a specially designated area for the refurbishment of IT and computer equipment for reuse, as well as data destruction so that Sims' customers can comply with the requirements of the WEEE Directive.

This service will include access to the company's in-house process management monitoring and reporting system, WebView, enabling customers to track progress of their equipment. The system also guarantees residual data destruction for legal compliance.

Sims Recycling solutions is part of Sims Metal Management and all of its UK facilities are certified under the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards for the collection, assessment, data eradication, refurbishment, management of disposal and recycling of IT and related equipment.

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