Viridor invests £15m in Suffolk recycling plant

Viridor invests £15m in Suffolk recycling plant
(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

Waste management company Viridor has made a £15.4-million investment in an Ipswich recycling facility as part of its renewed contract with Suffolk County Council.

The county’s material collected for recycling is sorted by Viridor at the Masons Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), which was built in 1998 and accepts mixed fibre, news & pams, card, mixed plastic, HDPE, PET, steel and aluminium. The £15.4-million investment by Viridor will go towards modernising the facility to make the most of material collected at the kerbside.

Some of the money will go towards new mechanical sorting and recovery equipment, including 11 optical sorters, a trommel screen, two balers and 111 conveyors at a total length of 1,124 metres. Viridor has estimated that this investment will increase the processing capacity of the facility by 10,000 tonnes to 75,000 tonnes per annum, or 17 tonnes an hour. £20,000 will also go to the Masons MRF Education Centre, which teaches visitors about the importance of recycling.

The modernisation programme will run from March to December 2019. Paul Brown, Viridor’s Managing Director of Recycling and Integrated Assets, commented: “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.

“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.”

In 2016/17, the recycling rate for Suffolk County Council was 50.1 per cent. This new investment programme by Viridor is part of a push by the council to further increase this figure as well as to improve the quality of the recycled materials produced.

Viridor has been contracted with Suffolk for the last 20 years, and on 28 January agreed a renewal of the 10-year contract worth £88.75 million. Today (21 February), Viridor also announced that it has been awarded an eight-year contract with Pembrokeshire County Council to send residual waste sent to to an energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Cardiff.

In addition, the company this month won a total waste management contract for Hinkley Point C in Somerset, where two nuclear reactors are being constructed by EDF Energy. This contract will see food waste transferred to Viridor’s anaerobic digestion facility at Walpole in Somerset, mixed dry recycling sorted through the Priorswood Materials Recycling Facility in Taunton and non-recyclable waste sent to energy recovery facilities, including the Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre once it becomes operational next year.