Recycling specialists offer wide-ranging services

A growing choice of solutions from service companies, ranging from world leading names to local and highly specialised operators dealing with specific materials, offers a wide range of solutions for business and the public sector in dealing with recycling problems across Ireland. LAWE's Special Supplement reports on a selection of recycling services

The wide range of recycling and waste minimisation services available throughout Ireland is recorded in a recently published new reference manual for businesses – The Recycling Directory of Ireland – which was launched jointly by Noel Dempsey, Minister for the Environment and Local Government, and his Northern Ireland counterpart, Sam Foster, MLA, Minister for the Environment.

Both Ministers acknowledged that progress needs to be made in increasing the amount of waste recycled throughout the island of Ireland. “Manufacturers will need convincing of the longer term environmental and economic benefits of using recycled materials, as well as those made from virgin materials,” said Mr Foster. Mr Dempsey added: “achieving better waste management presents both challenges and opportunities. A substantial increase in recycling rates is central to the pursuit of more sustainable waste management practice.”

Recycling services

The range of recycling companies able to help the Government, industry and local authorities meet these aims includes such household names on the global stage as Smurfit Recycling, part of the international Jefferson Smurfit Group, a world leader in paper-based packaging.

Each year the recycling operations of the world-wide Smurfit Group take out and reuse more than five million tonnes of waste paper from the environment. The group states: “Recycling makes sense – business sense and environmental sense – and the Jefferson Smurfit Group is proud to be the world’s largest recycler of waste paper.”

The main function of Dublin-based Smurfit Recycling is to source, sort and grade waste paper in Ireland. In addition to supplying Smurfit Paper Mills, Dublin, product is sold to various paper mills in the UK, Continental Europe and Asia. Smurfit Recycling will handle 100,000 tonnes of waste paper in the current year.

The production facilities at Smurfit Recycling include a Harris HRB-SR baling press and a Bollegraaf HBC 110F baling press, complete with grade sorting equipment. The company handles up to 34 grades of waste paper. The company also has an AZ45 shredding machine which is used for the destruction of confidential documents, or the destruction of computer manuals.

Some 60% of recovered paper is sourced in the Dublin area. The balance is sourced throughout the company’s merchant network, operating from all the major population centres in the country.

Smurfit Recycling plays a key role in the National Recycling Strategy, including support and active involvement in REPAK, a private company set up under a voluntary agreement between industry and the Department of the Environment, to ensure that Ireland meets EU targets for paper recovery/recycling.

Waste collection & recycling

Another company operating a waste transfer and recycling centre ten miles outside Limerick city, is Mr Binman. The company currently services 27,000 domestic and 2,000 commercial customers in Limerick city, Co Limerick and parts of Co Clare.

Waste collected by the refuse vehicles is transported to the company’s premises where it is sorted and re-compacted prior to being transported in transfer vehicles to Limerick County Council’s landfill site at Gortadroma.

With the rising environmental concerns about the quantities of waste produced and its disposal, Mr Binman recognises the need to explore new and improved methods of waste disposal. The company states that it has a strong commitment to reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and is currently in the process of installing and installing a number of new facilities for the recovery of recyclables. The company is fully licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency and employs two full-time environmental scientists. Owing to the recent expansion in its business, Mr Binman is in the process of applying for a new waste licence that will allow it to transfer in excess of 100,000 tonnes per annum.

Recently the company installed an automated glass crushing plant on site which has improved the efficiency of its glass processing and will allow for the handling of greater tonnages of glass in the future. The plant is designed to crush the glass and remove contaminants such as rings and corks, through the use of a combination of a magnet, and eddy current separator and a turbine. The screened and crushed glass is then removed to storage bunkers. When a sufficient quantity of glass has been collected it is transported to Irish Glass for further recycling. This new plant may also be used to separate aluminium and ferrous cans. Mr Binman collects glass from outlets such as pubs and restaurants and from bottle banks. Other materials recovered from the waste stream for recycling include cardboard, timber, steel and construction and demolition waste.

The latest addition to the company’s facilities, a picking station, is expected to have a major impact on its recycling activities, allowing not only for the recovery of greater quantities of recyclables but also the recovery of additional materials, such as plastics and paper.

Specialist sectors

On the specialist front, the Irish Lamp Recycling Co Ltd, based in Athy, Co Kildare, provides a solution to the problem of dealing with fluorescent lamps. Covering all 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland, and with a customer base of about 500 firms, the company offers a collection service nationwide. Handling about 300,000 lamps a year, the company recycles all aspects of fluorescent lamps, from the glass to the metals, and particularly the mercury, 99% of which is reusable in the form of dental mercury, which is used to make fillings. It is the only such company in Europe which has both ISO 14002 and 9002 accreditation.

In the plastics recycling area, Shabra Recycling Ltd, located at Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, collects post industrial or consumer waste. These can be HDPE bottles, 25 litre containers or similar or bottle crates. Also collected are bottles found in the average household waste, such as shampoo, washing up liquid bottle and containers such as lubricating and motor oil, bottles and all types of LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE films. These are all separated at Shabra.

Shabra Plastics LtdÕs products are manufactured and all quality control is to ISO9002.

Bottles are sorted because there are currently few uses for mixed plastic bottles. However, there are many uses for plastic bottles and plastic film once they are separated into their polymer types.

Once the recycled plastic has been processed by compounding into small pellets it can be sold on or used on the company’s production line for the manufacture of twin-wall pipe, refuse sacks and all types of non-food use. All products produced by Shabra Plastics are manufactured from recycled HDPE and LDPE to meet the standards and specifications of the industry and construction.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie