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Materials Recovery...

Grundon operates three Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs or ‘Murfs’) for the separation of mixed recyclables, at Slough (Colnbrook), Leatherhead (Mole Valley) and Reading (Beenham).

We believe that the best way to encourage recycling is to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible. We do this by operating a simple two-bin collection system where all recyclable materials are placed in one bin, and a second container is provided for all residual (non-recyclable) waste. Currently, the materials that we can recover for recycling are cardboard, paper, glass bottles & jars, aluminium cans, steel cans and plastic bottles.

Recyclables collected in this way are tipped at our nearest MRF, where they are fed through a series of different processes to separate them into their respective material types. After high-density baling to maximise vehicle utilisation, the materials are placed in temporary store until sufficient quantity is achieved for economic shipment to the re-processors, where they are manufactured into new products.

All of our MRFs work to the same objective of producing clean, sorted recyclables as efficiently as possible, to quality standards in excess of the minimum required by the re-processors.

Over the years each of our MRFs has undergone an extensive refit to incorporate the latest sorting technology available at the time and to enable them to add new products to the list of materials recovered. Each plant incorporates differing combinations of technology, but typically they all use:

  • a combination of hand and mechanical sorting for paper & cardboard
     
  • mechanical sorting for plastics
     
  • an overband magnet for removing steel cans and other ferrous metals
     
  • an eddy current separator for separation of aluminium cans
     

Our newest facility, the Tanhouse MRF at Colnbrook, was rebuilt in 2011 following a serious fire. Tanhouse incorporates state-of-the-art ‘Redwave’ near-infra red spectroscopy auto sorters, capable of programming to extract a wide range of different material types based on the wavelength of reflected light. Additional materials recoverable using this technology include clean, clear plastic film; mixed plastics including polypropylene, and ‘Tetrapak’-style laminated cartons.

A fourth, ‘Skip MRF’ at our Ewelme depot near Oxford processes building & construction waste, recovering 75% of all soil, plastics, timber, brick, concrete, aggregates and metals.

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The volume of waste produced in the UK in one hour would fill the Albert Hall.