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Sunday Tribune - 17 October 2004

Mr. Binman’s recycling alternative

Mr. Binman scoops recycler of the year award.

Mr. Binman Ltd. Has invested E4 million in a state-of-the-art Mechanical Separation Plant which currently diverts 70% of waste away from landfill for treatment. This plant, based on a Dutch design, is the first of its kind in Ireland and is the initial phase of Mechanical Biological Treatment which is deemed to be the only alternative to incineration today in countries like Austria and Germany.

One of Mr. Binman Ltd.’s main aims is to be in a position to utilise the most innovative technology available in the recycling industry and the recent commission and installation of the Mechanical Separation Plant at their headquarters in Luddenmore close to Kilmallock in Co. Limerick server to further this aim.

Mr. Binman Ltd. has invested heavily in the installation of this technology and the results to date have been extremely positive.

Essentially, mechanical biological treatment envisages the accurate separation and stabilisation of waste. The residual municipal waste entering the mechanical separation plant is separated according to the characteristics of the particular waste item. Initially the waste undergoes pre-sorting where any hazardous materials i.e. batteries, tins of paint, etc. are removed. The pre-sorted waste then undergoes various processes within the plant resulting in the presentation of various types of waste which can be forwarded to other companies and utilised accordingly.

The two most important stages of this whole process and what it is designed to achieve are firstly, screening of the waste to remove the organic or compostable fraction and secondly removal of the light papers and plastics via air suction apparatus.

Screening of the waste results in the separation of organic wastes (grass clippings, vegetable peelings, etc.). The relatively smaller particle sizes involved with this type of waste ensures easy and accurate separation by this technique. Once separated, the organic waste is transported off-site for biological treatment. This phase is overseen by McGill Composting Let. whose 15 years experience in compositing has ensured the production of Class 1 compost which can potentially be used in areas such as horticulture, landscaping and land remediation.

The light fraction which is removed via air-suction is referred to as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) which mainly consists of light plastics and papers. Mr. Binman Ltd. has recently sourced a partnership agreement with a Swedish company whereby the RDF is utilised as a fuel within their manufacturing process thereby replacing fossil fuels. A point worth mentioning here is that the RDF is transported by sea to Sweden on ships which come to Ireland laden with goods for the Irish market and previously returned empty. This new agreement therefore ensures existing transport links are maximised to their optimum.

Other processes in the Mechanical Separation Plant ensure the recovery of ferrous metals such as steel cans via magnets which are sent to Hegarty Metals in Limerick for reprocessing. Non-ferrous metals such as aluminium cans are separated by eddy current separators and sent to Alcan in the UK for recycling. Finally, dense plastics such as plastic bottles are removed via kinetic separation. The remaining residual waste material is conveyed into a refuse compactor. The compacted waste is sent to landfill and this represents 25-35% of the original input of waste into the plant.

The mechanical separation plant and its success to date ensures consistency of achievement with the other main jewel in Mr. Binman Ltd’s crown which is its long-standing Opti-Bag collection system. This system consists of the weekly kerbside collection of dry recyclables such as newspapers/magazines, glass, cans/tins, cardboard, tetra-paks and plastic bottles in a clear biodegradable bag called an ‘Opti-bag’ in conjunction with the regular wheelie bin collection.

Recently Mr. Binman Ltd. has introduced a ‘Pay-by-Weight’ system for the benefit of its customers. This system works on an incentive basis in that the opportunity exists for customers to receive credits related to the amount of waste customers divert from their wheelie bins through waste minimisation, home-composting or recycling via the Opti-Bag. Since the introduction of pay-by-weight the volume of recyclables collected via the Opti-Bag system has increased two-fold reflecting customers’ positive response to this new system.

Mr. Binman Ltd’s outstanding achievements in recycling have been formally recognised recently with the awarding to the company of the prestigious title of ‘Packaging Recovery Operator of the Year 2004’ by Repak, the national packaging compliance authority. It is the company’s intention to continue to achieve the same high standards and cement its place at the forefront of waste management in Ireland today.

All in all, existing customers and potential customers can have total confidence in the efforts being made by Mr. Binman Ltd. in relation to waste diversion and the production of recyclable material so that a viable alternative system to incineration is being made available in the Mid-West Region today.

     

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email - info@chaseireland.org
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