Resource Use

Viridor plastics recycling facility officially opens

A new plastics recycling facility (PRF) owned by waste management company Viridor was officially opened by Mayor of Medway Councillor Barry Kemp on Thursday (6 November).

The facility, constructed in conjunction with Stadler UK, will annually process up to 75,000 tonnes of mixed plastics into ‘high-quality, clean plastic grades’ for packaging, while separating up to 10,000 tonnes of glass from combined input streams.

Technology details

The facility can accept up to 14 tonnes of mixed materials per hour for separation, utilising 121 conveyor belts to move materials throughout the building, seven overband magnets to separate out metal, as well as five eddy current separators and three picking cabins to separate 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. These can include: clear and coloured polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, clear and coloured high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, PET food trays, polypropylene, polystyrene, and plastic bags.

The facility will be able to generate up to 350 bales per day, containing 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.

It is thought that the plant is the ‘first of its size’ to have the capability to recover mixed plastics as well as co-mingled glass and cans.

'Transforming waste into quality resources'

Viridor plastics recycling facility officially opens

Speaking at the site on Thursday, Mayor Kemp said that he was “sure that the investment here and the employment opportunities that are offered will not fail to pay handsome dividends in the future”.

Viridor has said that its separating facilities in Rochester and its processing site in Skelmersdale will enable ‘three quarters of the post-consumer plastics handled by Viridor to be fully recycled within the EU’.

Ian McAulay, Viridor Chief Executive, said: “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.

“Facilities like Rochester PRF reflect our programme 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.”

Viridor will also today (10 November) open its new mechanical biological treatment and anaerobic digestion recycling facility in Cobden Street in Salford.

The facilities form part of Viridor’s £631-million construction programme with the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA), with which Viridor has a £3.8 billion waste contract.

Watch a timelapse video of the Viridor PRF being built below.

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