Tomra's tech doubles capacity at Scottish MRF
Originally published in Recycling Today.
A multimillion-dollar plant refurbishment and investment in new equipment from Tomra Recycling has helped boost material recovery rates and more than double capacity at Cireco’s state-of-the-art material recovery facility (MRF) in Dunfermline, Fife, on Scotland’s east coast.
The MRF has been designed as a high-capacity dual plant to process two dry mixed recycling (DMR) streams collected from 160,000 Fife households. On alternate weeks, the plant processes mixed cans and plastics and then paper and cardboard.
The facility is owned and operated by Cireco, one of Scotland’s leading waste management specialists. Cireco worked in partnership with Blue Group, a leading supplier of materials handling equipment for recycling, who redesigned the plant and managed the refurbishment project
Having worked with Tomra Recycling, based in Germany, on several projects over the past six years, Blue Group recommended installing four Tomra Autosort units as part of the upgrade. The units combine near-infrared (NIR) and visual spectrometers (VIS) to recognize and separate different materials according to their material type and color, extracting high-purity high-value end fractions.
The Autosort units have been programmed to target old, corrugated cardboard (OCC), mixed paper, newspaper, periodicals and magazines and office white from the paper and cardboard infeed stream, as well as aluminum, ferrous metals and plastics sorted by color and polymer from the mixed cans and plastics infeed stream. Cireco plans to investigate how it can assist other collectors of different commingled recycling streams in dealing with their material, Tomra says.
Prior to the renovation, Cireco relied heavily on manual picking, but this limited the volume of infeed material that could be processed at the plant. Now, the investment in the MRF and the new sorting equipment has more than doubled the plant’s capacity. The mixed cans and plastics infeed is now processed at 12 tons per hour (tph), and the paper and cardboard infeed at 9 tph. Material recovery rates have risen now, benefiting from market-leading prices in light of the high quality and segregation of materials. All of this has been achieved without any labor costs.
“Tomra Recycling is the market leader in sensor-based sorting solutions, and we’ve had great success using Tomra’s equipment in previous projects,” Blue Group Managing Director Austin Carey says. “We were confident that the Autosort was the best available solution for Cireco’s MRF upgrade. Scotland is preparing for the introduction of the deposit return scheme (DRS) next year, and the experts at TOMRA have helped to install a future-proof solution which is capable of adapting to changes in infeed material that may result from the roll-out of the DRS.”
Cireco CEO Robin Baird says Tomra has helped turn the Fife MRF into a “first-class facility.”
“By taking the time to listen to our needs and fully sample our material, Tomra ensured the package offered would deliver on our exacting standards,” Baird says. “Our installation period covered the middle of the global pandemic and, despite this, Tomra still hit installation targets and deadlines which was critical to our business due to increased waste volumes. We look forward to continuing to work with them on future projects.”