Published on 7 April 2021
Last week a further milestone was reached with the contracts signed to build a new world-leading next generation Material Recycling Facility (MRF) on the edge of Coventry.
A new city-based company overseeing the project, Sherbourne Recycling Limited, has been established, creating new jobs for the local economy; with further expected in 2022 when commissioning of the new facility begins.
The new company, which is wholly owned by eight local authorities (Coventry City Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, North Warwickshire District Council, Rugby Borough Council, Stratford District Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Walsall Council and Warwick District Council), will provide the capital for the construction, with each partner also committing to a long-term waste supply agreement to commit all items collected from homeowners for recycling.
Richard Dobbs, Managing Director said: "Over the last decade it has been increasingly challenging and expensive for local authorities to manage recyclate collected at the kerbside. By creating a partnership, we were able to develop the business case for a regional 175ktpa facility, and now with Machinex on board as our process equipment provider, we are really excited about being able to take greater control and push market boundaries.
"After months of hard work, this signifies a huge achievement for all involved in the project. With all contracts now in place we can begin the hard work of building the MRF of the future and creating our place in the market."
The MRF of the future owes its name to the integration of artificial intelligence at the heart of the system, including the most advanced technologies such as several sorting robots and optical sorters. The AI will allow real-time interconnectivity between the main sorting equipment. Furthermore, the operations management of this facility will be based, among other things, on the data collected by the AI. The plant will achieve high rates of material purity from the widest range of material recycled commercially and by householders, including low grade, single use plastics.
The construction of the facility will be delivered by Nottingham based Clegg Group. John Moxon, business development director at Clegg Group, said: "We're delighted to be on board and supporting with the construction of this state-of-the-art facility. This project will make a real difference to the recycling capabilities in the West Midlands so we're really looking forward to commencing work and bringing this project to life."
The new facility will be located on former allotment land adjacent to the Energy from Waste facility that is operated by The Coventry & Solihull Waste Disposal Company Ltd (CSWDC). It will be just over 12,000 sqm's; set on 4-acre site allocated for waste use in Coventry's Local Plan back in 2017.
Works are scheduled to begin on site in early summer, taking approximately 15 months for the initial building construction to be completed, ahead of the arrival of Machinex to install the waste processing equipment. The facility is expected to be fully operational by summer 2023.
Cllr Ian Shenton, Operations Portfolio Holder at Stratford District Council said: The importance of this exciting and innovative project cannot be overstated as it will give Stratford a state of the art facility which will be one of the most advanced in the world. This guarantees that we have a high quality facility for the next 25 years at least.
"With our partners we will have control of what is recycled and where it ends ultimately plus the high quality of the recyclate will mean that we obtain the best prices for it. This matters because the revenue we receive from selling the recyclate ensures that the costs to the council tax payer will be kept lower than current market processing costs which are increasing all the time.
"The council tax payer, the end user of the recyclate and most importantly, the environment all benefit as the facility will be more efficient at extracting high quality recyclable product and it will be flexible enough to cope with any new products that can be recycled."
Over the last three months the project team, led by Coventry City Council, have worked with Machinex and Clegg Group to refine the solution to maximise use of the site, and conclude the on-going discussions with CSWDC to provide a private wire connection from the Energy from Waste Facility to power the MRF.
Jonathan Menard, VP Sales & Strategic Positioning at Machinex said: "Since selection, back in December 2020, we have worked hard with Sherbourne to offer some value engineering and finalise the contractual documentation to assure a successful project and optimise efficiency of the sorting system. We are pleased to work with the whole team at Sherbourne and we could not think of a better partnership to accomplish the MRF of the Future and to disrupt the industry."
Once operational the facility will be able to process 175ktpa recyclate from both domestic and commercial sources. By investing in technologies to achieve exceptionally high purity rates and tackle a wider range of waste materials, including single use plastics, the facility will be able to target UK based end processors and command a higher market price for the material streams created.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575