Recresco invests £5.5m in metal sorting technology

Glass recycling company Recresco says it has invested around £5.5 million in metal sorting technology at its Ellesmere Port site in Cheshire.

Recresco purchased the site it occupies at Ellesmere Port in 2020

The company says it is installing shredders, X-ray fluorescence technology and briquetting machinery which will be operational by the end of September.

Once the technology starts working, the machines will sort, shred and compress aluminium bottle tops from commingled glass collections for smelting.

Tim Gent, Recresco’s director, said: “We have a passion for innovation, always looking to new technologies and systems that make all our activities more energy-efficient and environmentally sound.

“This investment is part of our overall journey to minimising our environmental impact while maximising yield and we look forward to seeing the positive results from this project.”

Austrian machinery manufacturer Redwave is supplying Recresco with the sorting technology.

The investment comprises a £3.5 million commitment from Recresco. The company says the remainder derives from grant funding awarded in 2019 under the EU European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator programme, which supports individual SMEs to develop and scale up innovations.

A spokesperson for Recresco told letsrecycle.com that the decision to invest in the project pre-dates the recent increase in the value of glass PRN. However, the company says the extra revenue has enabled it to improve the specification and support infrastructure to ensure the “sustainability” of the Ellesmere Port facility.

Caps

Glass collections often see aluminium caps still attached to containers, with rubber, cork or plastic seals in place. Recresco sees around 20 tonnes of metal lids move through its Ellesmere Port plant every week.

Recresco says it sees around 20 tonnes of metal bottle caps move through its Ellesmere Port plant every week (picture: Shutterstock)

Traditionally, the company says, a glass reprocessor removes the caps and sends them to a scrap yard, where they often become waste “due to being a very lightweight component of the batch”.

Recresco is investing in an ATM press which, once caps are removed from glass bottles, places them under 500 tonnes of pressure to form “furnace-ready” briquettes for smelting.

The company is also investing in other Redwave machinery to remove other metals from bottles.

Ellesmere Port

Recresco purchased the site it occupies at Ellesmere Port in 2020 in a “multimillion-pound” deal (see letsrecycle.com story).

Since then, the company says, it has installed a research and development centre and invested in sorting technology, an IT upgrade programme, company-wide safety systems and “general site improvements”.

Founded in Norfolk in 1978, family business Recresco has another large reprocessing facility at Cwmbran and its head office in Nottingham.

The company claims to be the first in the UK to sort glass by colour and to take glass sourced from materials recycling facilities.

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