Recycling targets drive innovation in design
Tough national recycling targets, coupled with 'ring-fenced' funding for local authority recycling projects continue to stimulate demand for specialised solutions in plant, and above all, vehicles. LAWE Editor Alexander Catto, reviews recent developments by manufacturers who offer recycling managers in both the public and private sectors a wide range of tailor-made vehicles
The latest national statistics spell out the size of the task the country faces in reducing its growing waste problem.
Progress is being made as the data shows. In total, some sort of value (recycling, composting, energy recovery) was recovered from about 7.3 million tonnes (25%) of municipal waste in 2002/03, compared with 6.4 million tonnes (22%) in 2001/02. Household waste and recycling statistics show that around 88 % of municipal waste comes from households. In 2002/03, this represented 1.2 tonnes of waste per household per year.
The household recycling rate has increased to 14.5 % in 2002/03, up from 12.4 % in 2001/02.
Significantly for manufacturers of specialised vehicles, the proportion of households served by kerbside collection schemes has increased to 67%. The amount of waste collected for recycling through such schemes has increased by 29 % to 1.3 million tonnes in 2002/03.
In 2002/03, for the first time, compostable waste was the most collected material for recycling, with 1.2 million tonnes making up 32 % of the total. This was followed by paper and card with 1.1 million tonnes or 30 % of the total.
However, Environment Minister Elliot Morley said that bringing down England's large volume of household waste still provides a "formidable challenge" to Government, local authorities and individual householders themselves.
The Minister said: "There has been a welcome improvement on all waste indicators, but the priority is minimisation, re-use and recycling, and landfill is bottom of the hierarchy.
"Latest recycling estimates for England reveal achieving our 2003/2004 recycling target is now within reach," he added..Growth in RCV sales
The drive to improve the nation's recycling rates continues to boost demand for recycling plant and vehicles. Recycling vehicles now make up a significant element in the increase in RCV sales overall, which some industry sources estimate will near the 2,000 units mark this year, ahead of the 1,800 vehicles estimated to have been purchased in 2003. This growth in the market is a major factor behind the wide range of innovative and developed vehicles that have been introduced in the UK this year where manufacturers have take the opportunity to showcase their products at trade exhibitions.
A major newcomer is the "Euro-Cycler" body from the USA introduced by Heil Europe. The new two stream semi-automated recycling unit has been operating successfully with contractors and municipalities in the United States for almost ten years, Heil reports. A split container on both sides of the body allows the simultaneous separation and loading of recyclables into the body chambers from either side. The Euro-Cycler has a body length of 7.7 metres and a capacity of 25.3m3, which is split 11.6m3 in the top compartment and 13.7m3 in the bottom.
Another innovative launch, from Zoeller Waste Systems Ltd, a leading company in refuse collection body systems and mechanical bin-lifting equipment, has been the OPTIMA, termed "a revolutionary multi-purpose approach to the collection of recyclable materials and domestic refuse." Designed in conjunction with Redditch Borough Council, Zoeller sees the new solution, as an excellent example of its commitment to meeting the specific needs of customers.
The first 15 tonnes GVW "OPTIMA 4" has entered service with Redditch Borough Council and is a 16 m3 capacity, non compacting, four compartment unit operating at a payload of up to 6.5 tonnes.
More compartments are possible on larger body units depending on the operational need or where manoeuvrability is less of a problem.
At CIWM Torbay 2004 Maclift introduced an enhancement on the safety front on the Kerbside Kollector in the shape of a new harness system which simplifies safety controls. No wiring is needed when extra safety features are being added. The system can be tailor-made for individual operators. A control screen highlights potential risks and an automatic cut-out ensures safety in action.
Terberg Matec UK, which recently introduced 15 key improvements to its Kerbsider ® body system, has also developed an innovation to consolidate waste such as plastic and glass bottles and drinks cans at the point of collection.
The new equipment is the MVR (Material Volume Reducer) designed to mount on to the company's Kerbsider ® multi-compartment, non-compacting recyclables materials collection vehicle body, either from new or as a retrofit item. It "flattens" material as it is loaded into the vehicle in a ratio up to 4:1. The MVR in powered hydraulically from the vehicle's PTO.