19 February 2019 by Will Date

Multi-million pound upgrade for Viridor’s Masons MRF

Viridor is investing £15.4 million in its Masons Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), near Ipswich, to modernise the plant and increase sorting capacity.

Investment will increase the capacity of the MRF from 65,000 tonnes per year to 75,000 tonnes, and includes the installation of 11 optical sorters and 111 conveyors. An additional trommel and two balers are also being installed. Viridor is working with equipment supplier Stadler on the upgrade.

(l-r): Viridor head of local authority development Simon Prior; Suffolk county council waste contracts officer Jonas Grist; Suffolk county council cabinet member for waste Paul West and Viridor’s Masons Materials Recycling Facility unit manager, Simon Hume

Investment in the facility, which was built in 1998, comes on the back of the award of a new contract for the company to process mixed recyclable material on behalf of Suffolk local authorities (see letsrecycle.com story).

The £88 million ten-year contract, which was agreed through Suffolk county council, last month will see Viridor recover mixed materials from Ipswich borough council, and Babergh, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal, West Suffolk (formerly St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils) and Waveney district councils.

The new contract extends Viridor’s long-standing arrangement with Suffolk which has been in place since 2004 – and was renewed in April 2014.


The modernisation programme will run from March to December, during which time Viridor will send Suffolk’s recycling to other UK sorting facilities. The process targets mixed fibre, news & pams, card, mixed plastic, HDPE, PET, steel and aluminium, Viridor says.

Paul Brown, Viridor’s managing director of recycling and integrated assets, said: “Viridor has a clear focus on developing the real opportunities to put quality recycling materials back into the economy where they belong. This starts with viewing waste as a resource, rather than rubbish, and, thanks to Suffolk’s commitment to recycling, and this new Viridor investment, we are well positioned to make the most of the county’s recycling opportunities.”

He added: “The Masons investment plan has been specifically designed not only to achieve greater capacity but to match the quality of its output with market requirements. The education centre and staff welfare facilities are also prioritised in this project.”

Each of the councils within the contract operates an alternate weekly collection system, with dry recyclables such as paper, cardboard, tins and plastic bottles and containers collected commingled. At present, none of the councils collect glass from the kerbside.

“The Masons investment plan has been specifically designed not only to achieve greater capacity but to match the quality of its output with market requirements.”

Paul Brown

Paul West, Cabinet Member for Waste at Suffolk county council, said: “This is a great opportunity for local businesses to get involved in the project and for the local economy to benefit.  From builders’ merchants to van hire companies I would encourage local businesses to come along to the event to see what opportunities there may be for them.”

The project will also see a £20,000 upgrade in the Masons MRF Education Centre, where visitors, including school children, will continue to learn more about recycling and the effect of putting the ‘Right Stuff in the Right Bin’.


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