Viridor opened state-of-the-art polymer recycling facility at Rochester

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Opening of the Rochester polymer recycling facility (Foto: Viridor Ltd.)

Exeter, UK — The Viridor Polymer Recycling Facility at Rochester has started. The £12.5 million state-of-the-art plastics recycling facility will help local councils and businesses to recycle more of their plastic ‚waste‘ into quality raw materials for industry. The project was constructed in conjunction with Stadler UK. The site has been in development since May 2014 and today’s ceremony marks the official opening.

Using some of the most advanced materials sorting technology available, the facility is capable of processing 75,000 tonnes of mixed plastics each year into segregated plastic grades ready to be reprocessed into secondary raw materials for use in the manufacture of a variety of packaging and other products. It will be able to separate up to 10,000 tonnes of glass from combined input streams every year. The facility is unique in its ability to recover mixed plastics as well as commingled glass and cans through its unique combination of sorting technology.

By accepting a broader range of materials in, it can create more quality materials going out. Viridor’s strength is in its expertise and infrastructure. Having a combination of separation facilities such as Rochester, as well as its processing site in Skelmersdale, will allow three quarters of the post-consumer plastics handled by Viridor to be fully recycled within the EU.

Investment in the social infrastructure

Ian McAulay, Viridor CEO commented: „I’m pleased to see our latest investment already providing an improved recycling service for customers in Kent and beyond. Transforming what others see as waste into quality resources that can be used within manufacturing is a key requirement to greater resource efficiency in the UK.  That is good for UK business and for the environment.“ And he added: „Facilities like Rochester PRF reflect our program of investment in the social infrastructure the UK needs for more recycling and energy recovery. I thank everyone for their hard work in delivering this excellent project.“

The building of the new facility contains 121 conveyor belts to move the streams of waste throughout the building. Metals are removed using seven overband magnets and five eddy current separators whilst three picking cabins ensure the manual separation of unwanted items such as paper and film. After ballistic separation, a series of 16 Titech optical sorting machines isolate the required mixture of plastic grades for the baling machines.

350 bales of 700kg per day generated

14 tonnes per hour of mixed plastic (made up of plastic bottles and pots, tubs and trays), mixed plastic bottles (made up of plastic bottles), plastics, cans and glass (mixture of the previous two with the addition of glass bottles and metal cans) are sent into the facility for processing. Travelling along approximately 400m of conveyor belt and ascending to a height of 12m and back down again, the end result is quality choice of PET clear bottles , PET coloured bottles, PET food trays, Polypropylene, HDPE clear, HDPE coloured, Polystyrene, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, mixed paper, plastic bags and glass.

The facility will be able to generate up to 350 bales per day, each weighing approximately 700kg. It’s estimated that one bale can contain up to 17,500 bottles. Licensed to operate 24 hours a day, the facility will accept in-feed from other waste management companies, materials recycling facilities and kerbside recycling collections.

View a timelapse film of the construction of the Viridor Rochester Plastics Recycling Facility.

Source: Viridor Limited