The opening on 9 July of Hampshire Waste Services £3.6 million Materials Recovery Facility at Portsmouth by Environment Minister Michael Meacher was a major milestone in the development of Hampshire’s integrated waste strategy, Project Integra.

Keith Riley, left, MD of HWS shows Michael Meacher the new MRF

Project Integra is a joint initiative which involves the county council, the unitary authorities of Portsmouth and Southampton, the 11 district councils of Hampshire and the private contractor Hampshire Waste Services Ltd (HWS).

Hailed as Europe’s largest MRF for co-mingled waste, the new facility covers 2,600m2 and can treat 42,000 tonnes of mixed household waste materials per annum.

The willingness of householders in South East Hampshire to separate out waste materials for recycling is cited by Hampshire Waste as a factor in the early completion of the MRF.

Mr Meacher said that it provided a valued resource not just for the area but for the region as a whole. He emphasised the importance of the Government, the local authorities and the private sector, as well as the general public, coming together to find a solution to waste management. “Here you have the public involved from the beginning and it is an example I hope others will follow,” he said.

Keith Riley, Managing Director of Hampshire Waste Services commented: “This is a leap forward for recycling in Hampshire. Our original plans to replace the temporary MRF with a brand new, state-of-the-art centre has been brought forward by two years owing to the successful response by the public to doorstep collections.

“Certainly this now puts within the grasp of Hampshire the ability to achieve the government’s recycling target of 25% by the year 2000.”

Hampshire Waste Services plans to invest œ10 million in building new MRFs in the county with a combined capacity of 114,000 tonnes a year.

The Portsmouth plant introduces automated equipment in the sorting process and is housed in a purpose-built centre. It incorporates a 40-seat conference room and viewing gallery which has already been used by European environmentalists and schools.

MRF technology

Materials for recycling are delivered to the MRF from Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and East Hampshire.

Adcon Modular MRF Systems Ltd designed, built and installed the MRF. It is designed specifically to extract maximum volumes of recoverable materials from a pre-selected household waste stream, which comprises loose mixed dry co-mingled material, including paper, cardboard, aluminium and steel cans and mixed plastic bottles.

The materials are delivered initially to a conveyor where an initial sort by hand removes cardboard, plastic bags and any non-recyclable items.

The MRF is equipped with twin Bounce Adherence Belts, designed to separate the paper fraction from the remaining recyclables.

A patented Debris Roll Screen is used to remove items smaller than 50mm in size and this residue is transported through a system of conveyors to a compactor situated outside the main building.

Rotating discs remove small items before the materials are moved on to vibrating tables – with a velcro-like surface which holds paper – separating it automatically from the plastic bottles and the cans. Steel cans are then removed by a magnetic separator leaving the plastics to be sorted by hand.

Three types of plastic are fed individually through a perforator/flattener into a dedicated storage hopper. Perforating the plastics results in a flattened bottle approximately one third of its original size.

Five storage hoppers are supplied for the three types of plastic and steel and aluminium cans. The storage hoppers contain approximately 50m3 of each material and are situated so that they can be positioned in turn over the baler feed conveyors discharging their load automatically in the process.

Each of the materials is fed independently to the heavy duty twin ram baler where they are compressed and wired automatically before removal by fork lift truck.

The centre, which contains 24 conveyor belts and equipment to the value of £1.7 million, has provided work for 78 people, many of them previously unemployed.

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