Metal recycling facility in Offaly undergoes huge upgrade

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Leading waste and recycling company AES has announced the completion of a major upgrade at its materials recovery facility (MRF) in Tullamore.

The MRF facility in Tullamore can process in excess of 40,000 tonnes per year of dry mixed recycling waste collected from domestic and commercial recycling bins. It uses high-tech mechanical and manual sorting processes to sort recyclables into commodities which include paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, trays, films, as well as ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

The purpose of this upgrade was to target recoverable fibre, plastics and metals fractions which remained in the residual material at the end of the process. The upgrade included the installation of two optical sorters, bottle perforators, star screens, a new magnet and eddy current separator as well as an array of new holding structures, conveyors and recyclable storage bays.

The optical sorters use high-speed, high-resolution cameras, three-dimensional sensors and near-infrared optics to identify and sort waste by material type.

According to Ryan O’Donnell, Area Manager for AES Tullamore; “This upgrade of the Tullamore MRF will improve the recovery yield and purity while allowing flexibility to respond to changing inbound material composition. This investment also reinforces the commitment of AES Tullamore to having a Midlands based MRF operation that not only can comply with, but surpass the ever-increasing quality standard requirements for recycled commodities."

He added; “While the MRF facility is categorised as strategic waste infrastructure, the upgrade works had commenced before the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions. Despite these restrictions and thanks to a huge effort from our employees in Tullamore, equipment suppliers, engineering contractors and logistics providers, we were able to commission the new plant within three and a half weeks from commencement of works.

"Achieving such a timeline was critical because at AES Tullamore we process recycling waste collected not just from our local Tullamore and Portlaoise depots, but also from other AES depots across the country catering for a current customer base of 118,000 domestic customers and 5,5000 commercial customers. We also process dry mixed recyclables from other waste companies that do not operate their own MRFs."

AES has a long-standing history in the Midlands region. Earlier this year, it also announced that it is supporting the Glanpower waste to clean energy facility being built at Derryclure, just a few miles out the road from the AES Tullamore facility. This is via a long-term waste supply contract for 75,000 tonnes per year, for which AES will be the sole supplier.