UPM’s MRF set to maximise quality

UPM-Kymmene's new MRF will not only optimise recovered paper quality, but enable the company to forge stronger partnerships with local authorities on the collection front. Maxine Perella reports

High quality newsprint is critical to UPMKymmene’s customers, so anything that the company can do to control this quality is bound to be beneficial. It’s a chief reason why the paper recycler is building its own MRF – to “open up the fibre basket” by maximising recovery rates and maintaining optimal standards of material output.

The £17M MRF is nearing completion at the company’s Shotton mill site in Deeside and will have a capacity of 270,000tpa with an operating rate of up to 42tph when it goes live this month. There will be two sorting lines, 60 picking stations, a bag splitter and a comingled in-feed. Being co-located next to UPM’s newsprint mill has obvious advantages – a direct feed of sorted news and pam from the MRF will be channelled into the mill, enabling a truly integrated recovery process.

“The MRF output will generate about 20% of Shotton’s recycled fibre needs when it reaches full capacity,” says Craig Robinson, UPM’s head of recovered paper sourcing for the UK.

“We want to generate raw material for reprocessors and develop economies of scale in the supply chain.”

Besides cans, paper and card, the facility will have the ability to produce
six grades of plastics and two grades of glass (remelt and aggregate). “We are able to take co-mingled with glass – for us as a paper manufacturer that is a significant step. We will be able to remove it from the process. We have built in a glass removal system into the MRF,” explains Robinson.

Keeping it pure
The facility is being equipped with kit from Canadian manufacturer Machinex, working in partnership with TiTech on the optical sorting technology front. “We insisted on very high recovery and purity rates during the procurement process,” says Robinson, adding that the MRF will have a 98% product purity rate and a 99% recyclable material recovery rate.

About 70% of UPM’s material is sourced from the municipal stream and with the pressure of efficiency savings, co-mingled collections are likely to increase among local authorities. Robinson says owning and operating a MRF will allow the company to contract directly with the councils and work with them more closely to control the quality of supply.

Further efficiencies will be generated with up to 60% of the MRF output being consumed on-site. The mill has also invested £56M in a combined heat and power plant generating 30% of the site’s power requirements. A dedicated quality testing facility is being built, which will sample and test both inward and outbound material streams – a feature which Robinson

says is critical.

“We can give this compositional analysis back to local authorities and help them with their collections and data waste flow information. We can also use this data to help optimise the MRF itself,” he explains.

The whole focus of UPM’s strategy is sustainability and the company isn’t about to rest on its laurels with the new MRF. It is actively working towards zero waste and has set up a partnership with PHS Wastetech to deal with its contaminated pulp residue – a mixture of plastics, metals and other materials. PHS Wastetech will clean and reprocess this material into railway sleepers, plastic furniture or high grade plastic board – by the summer, according to UPM, it will have prevented some 20,000tpa of contaminated pulp going to landfill.

Maxine Perella is editor of LAWR

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