In such an active, ever changing market, the flexibility and efficiency of waste management companies is key to their ongoing success.
For April’s edition of Materials Recycling World magazine, J&B Recycling’s Operations Manager, Matt Tyrie, spoke to the editor about the importance of continued investment and upgrades for any waste firm, explaining the reasoning behind the recent completion of a £1.3m plant, machinery and fleet investment at J&B Recycling.
“We have made a number of upgrades to our plants during the last eight years, but this latest set of expansions have been the most prominent. In the waste management industry, upgrades are essential because operations need to reflect the changes in the market which are non-stop.
“Since our last major expansion which took place in 2009, the make-up of the materials that we receive has changed dramatically. More people bought newspapers and magazines so the plant was geared towards 35%-45% paper recovery.
“Now the paper content and available recovery is significantly less as people are reading the news on phones and tablets, so the production of newspapers and magazines is decreasing. In line with this, our plant is geared towards lower paper recovery.
“The new plant also allows for a variety of process configurations and can handle different input streams with eases. Whether it is fully comingled, comingled without glass, or triple or dual stream, we can offer maximum recovery of the recyclable content.
“The ability to produce quality outputs is also essential and maximising end product quality has always been a fundamental part of J&B’s ethos. Our recent upgrades were planned ahead of China’s revised quality standards for paper upgrades, and they enabled us to extract maximum quality and value from current material streams.
“It is quite right that offtake markets have strict quality specifications on the import of waste materials, so by working to optimise the plant continually, we were already well prepared for the current changes in the market that hit the headlines recently. As a result, we are confident that we can continue to meet even tighter demands from our end markets.”
J&B is one year into a strategic two-year plan to become more automated, to ensure that quality is maintained while achieving an increase in throughput and minimising residual waste output.
“We understand that this is an important step for us to take in ensuring longevity of the business, but having a trained workforce alongside automation is vital for quality control.
"There is still some way to go before full automation. The robotic technology that is around now may be good for certain jobs, due to its upper hand when it comes to speed, but it cannot beat the human eye for quality control.”
“For me to trust artificial intelligence over the human controllers, the technology would have to be incredibly advanced, which may happen but I’m not sure it’s going to be anytime soon.”
J&B’s Hartlepool MRF, which is dedicated to council kerbside contracts, currently has a 98% efficiency rate, but with further investments which are due to take place later this year, this rate is expected to increase to 99.5%.
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