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MRFs explained - What they take and where it goes? John Gilmour MCIWM Commercial Manager 20 th May 2014. 1 st Jan 2014. A landmark in the way individuals/businesses manage their waste Becomes a legal obligation in Scotland (requirement to recycle)

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Mrfs explained what they take and where it goes

MRFs explained - What they take and where it goes?

John Gilmour MCIWM Commercial Manager 20th May 2014

1 st jan 2014
1st Jan 2014

  • A landmark in the way individuals/businesses manage their waste

  • Becomes a legal obligation in Scotland (requirement to recycle)

  • 5 key materials identified

  • Separately collected or DMR (dry mixed recyclates)

  • Quality is key – must be same for both

  • Behaviour change required

  • Significantly, most Scottish local authorities favour comingle/DMR (cheaper)

  • Potential to boost Scotland’s economy and create green jobs

Zws 5 key recyclates mixed or separate
ZWS 5 key recyclates: mixed or separate?

METAL (drinks cans)



PLASTIC (bottles)


What fits best for fhe sector
What Fits Best For FHE Sector?

  • Various reports show high percentage of DMR materials

  • Layout of buildings & geography of estate (City or new campus)

  • Convenient: bins provide effective external storage for clear bagged DMR

  • Storage: Often limited for storing bags of separated recyclates (fire/access)

  • DMR bins replicate home behaviour for students & staff

  • Communications: familiar and consistent across the estate

  • Combined with food-waste and RDF (refuse derived fuel) for Zero to landfill

Mrf material recycling facility1
MRF Material Recycling Facility

  • Good quality in means good quality out (Contamination)

  • Visual check and inspection

  • Trommel (rotating drum screens for smaller items e.g. bottle tops)

  • TiTech air system detects different plastics

  • Eddy current extracts aluminium cans from ferrous and non-ferrous

  • Manual sort (trained pickers) to identify and remove contaminants

  • Material types collected together in bays, additional inspection

  • Quality samples measured and recorded, for reporting to customer

What about tolerance
What About Tolerance?

  • Good quality recycled products requires clean material

  • China has 1.5% limit for paper and less for plastic

  • NO contamination in DMR, must be like separate collected

  • Education Engagement Enforcement

  • SEPA AOP objective for 2013-14 “minimising the repatriation risk of Scottish recyclable…in order to improve the quality of waste recyclate and prevent illegal waste exports”

  • Align tender specification with what MRFs and re-processors want

The challenges we all face
The Challenges We All Face

  • Poor quality in means poor quality out

  • MRF Code of Practice

  • Revised Waste Framework Directive

  • Plastics Market 2012

  • Supply outstrips UK demand

  • China – Operation Green Fence

Biffa commodity division 2013
Biffa Commodity Division (2013)

  • 192 different grades of material

  • 3154 separate Trading Agreements

  • 150 different outlets

  • 37,000 separate transactions

The economist nov 2013
The Economist Nov 2013

  • There is a global trade at which Britain excels

  • In little more than a decade exports have risen tenfold

  • Its biggest customers are emerging markets, particularly China

  • The industry is green

  • Most households play a part in it, unaware of its existence

  • It is not financial services or education or health care

  • It is recycled cardboard

The uk and global market
The UK And Global Market

  • In total there is approx 8 million tonnes of paper and card collected for recycling each year in the UK. Paper and board mills here have a capacity to handle approx 3.8 million tonnes

  • “As a country we are a 55% net exporter of recyclable material” Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association

  • Last year most of the fibre (card & paper) Biffa collected and processed through our MRF plants was exported

Managing customer expectations
Managing Customer Expectations

“We have looked at recycling waste exclusively in the UK since about

2009 as China began to start to close its gates. I don’t want my

business being at their beck and call as to whether they want that

material. It might stimulate investment that is badly needed within the


Mike Walters, Recycling & Waste Ops Manager,

John Lewis Feb 2013

Why do we export so much fibre
Why Do We Export So Much Fibre?

  • Much of the material we collect is recycled into packaging

  • Packaging is needed where the goods are produced

  • Therefore the demand is in Asia and in particular China

  • Approx 40% of total UK fibre demand is in the newsprint sector, which is not a significant area of business for Biffa

  • Changes to our service offering has meant that a higher proportion of office and printers paper is now in our mixed paper rather than sold separately.

Is the plastics market similar
Is The Plastics Market Similar?

  • As a country, similar proportions are exported compared to the fibre market

  • Last year Biffa exported approx 45% of our plastic

  • Higher domestic use, particularly for bottle grades where fully closed-loop recycling back into food grade pellet is on the increase

Fitting it all together
Fitting It All Together

Customer Requirements (Operational/Financial)

Materials composition

Contractor/MRF requirements

Communications: User Information

Tender/Contractual requirements

Any questions
Any Questions?

  • John Gilmour Commercial Manager

  • Theresa Gall Account Manager