East Devon invests in sorting and baling machine

East Devon district council has invested in a “giant” sorting and baling machine to separate more than 5,000 tonnes of recycling a year collected from residents across the district.

The council’s new machine at the Greendale Resources Recycling Centre, which was a £420,000 investment, has been built specifically to handle the high amounts of recycling that East Devon residents collect every day, the council said.

OKAY Engineering
The machine sorts the recycling into individual types of materials before packing them into bales

The developer of the kit was Northamptonshire-based OKAY Engineering, the council confirmed. Building started in February with commissioning taking place towards the end of March. The first live loads were taken in May.

Fifteen months ago the district was recycling 43% of its waste every week. Today, residents recycle an average 57% of their waste weekly, which the authority said is thanks to a new service introduced last year.

‘Latest technology’

Using the latest technology, including a system of magnets and conveyors, the machine carefully sorts the recycling into individual types of materials and efficiently packs them into bales. The bales are then sent direct from East Devon to processors across the UK and Europe to be turned into new items.

“OKAY Engineering is delighted to have worked with East Devon District Council and SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK in the supply of the East Devon Resource Recycling Centre,” explained Antonia Kay, director of OKAY Engineering Services.

Ms Kay added: “It’s a robust yet highly efficient piece of engineering as it processes two types of material – mixed containers at 4tph and card at 7tph – over a very compact footprint.  The mixed containers are sorted and separated and all material is then baled in the unoTech baler. The compact layout gives the overall operation more space and together ensures the very rates of recycling now being achieve by the Council and SUEZ.”

Maximise value

The council said the quality of the sorted materials produced by the plant maximises the value of the materials that are being recycled and means the council can make the most of the effort residents are putting into recycling in East Devon.

To keep the machine working as efficiently as possible, the council has asked residents not to put cans in bags and to rinse plastics before they go in the recycling sack.

Prior to the new plant being installed, mixed materials collected in the green sacks were transported loose and unsorted to Avonmouth, but only eight tonnes could fit in each lorry. Now that the materials are compacted and baled, up to 20 tonnes can be transported in a single load saving money and carbon emissions, the council said.


OKAY Engineering
Cllr Andrew Moulding (right) and John Scanlon of Suez jointly cut the ribbon to open the new machine last month

Cllr Andrew Moulding, chairman of East Devon district council, and John Scanlon, Suez recycling and recovery UK’s chief operating officer jointly cut the ribbon to open the new machine at the end of last month (April 2018).

Cllr Moulding said: “The installation of this new recycling plant is the latest step in the modernisation of East Devon’s recycling service.

“The development and success of our recycling service has been the result of great teamwork by the East Devon and Suez partnership and the remarkable response by our residents who have embraced it so well.

“The recycling rate of 57% that we have now achieved has put us in the leading group of local authorities in England and enhanced East Devon’s reputation locally, regionally and nationally.”

Mr Scanlon added: “From the recycling industry’s perspective, the quality of the materials from East Devon is very high thanks to the hard work by residents and our crews. Suez’s vision is to live in a society where there is no more waste and East Devon, with its new recycling machine, is making very positive steps towards achieving this.”

East Devon district council awarded a seven-year waste and recycling collection contract to Suez in 2016. The £30 million contract includes a three-weekly residual waste collection and weekly recycling and food collections. Following the introduction of the service, the council reported an increase in recycling (see letsrecycle.com story).

East Devon tweeted a video which shows how the machine works. You can view this below.

Related Links
East Devon council
OKay Engineering



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