SunSkips manages approximately 3,000 tonnes of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire waste every month, which all has to be sifted through the recycling screening line to separate what can be recycled and what can’t.
This is heavy work, so a meticulous process is required to get the most value out of the waste and make sure we’re keeping as much as possible out of the country’s already bursting landfills.
To achieve this, SunSkips’ recycling screening line refines the waste until we’re left with clear categories – including good quality soil that can be reused.
Here’s SunSkips’ step-by-step process for sorting through all the waste we manage…
When skips are dropped off at the site (SunSkips currently has recycling sites in Stowmarket and Cambridge, with more on the way soon), there are always going to be larger pieces of waste that can be easily spotted by the naked eye and picked out by hand.
Sometimes that’s furniture and doors, which may be possible to salvage and reuse, larger pieces of cardboard that are easy to grab, large items of wood and concrete, or pre-separated loads of soil, rubble or plastic that can be sent to the correct bins right away.
Once the obvious waste items have been picked, it’s time to let the screening line do its thing…
After the initial pick, we’re left with mixed waste that would take weeks for our pickers to separate by hand, so it’s time to load it onto the conveyor belt to refine.
Waste is brought from across the site using our onsite machinery and loaded directly onto the conveyor.
The conveyor then carries the waste onto the flip flow screen, which is like a big vibrating sieve. This process starts to screen out the soil and separate the waste, with anything over 10mm diverting onto another conveyor to be handpicked (see step five), and anything below 10mm (known as “fines”) dropping down into a contained bay below.
All the waste in between (10-75mm and over) moves through to the next phase…
Medium-sized waste passes under an overband magnetic separator, which pulls out small pieces of metal like screws and nails.
Older screening lines use trommels (large rotating drums) to separate waste, but according to SunSkips managing director Mat Stewart, it’s not the most efficient method by today’s standards and stringent environmental requirements.
He said, “Sorting waste with a trommel is a bit old hat. It’s much more aggressive and smashes the waste to bits.
“SunSkips’ combination of a flip flow screen and overband magnet is far more efficient and you get more out of it.”
At this point in the screening line, a lot of the bulkier waste has been picked and the smaller fines have dropped down into the bay, but there will still be lighter waste mixed in that can be pulled out and recycled.
The air classifier blows paper and light plastics out of the waste and separates it ready to be taken to the recycling centre or sent off to be made into SRF fuel.
The waste is now in a good state to pass through the cabin where more pickers sort through it by hand again.
Here, they’ll spot anything that can be recycled but managed to pass through the process unsorted.
COVID-19 safety protocols are, of course, adhered to and good quality gloves are worn whenever handling waste directly to protect our team.
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Now the waste has been through the entire process, we can see what we’re left with.
The fines bin will need to go through a loss on ignition test, which determines how much organic matter is in the mix and whether it’s suitable to be used as soil.
This is an important step not only to determine the quality of the fines, but also how much the business will have to pay in taxes to process it. A loss of ignition of less than 10% means the waste is eligible for the £3.10/tonne lower landfill tax rate, whereas a loss of ignition of more than 10% means paying the much higher rate, circa £96.70/tonne.
All the refined waste will then be packed up and sent off to be recycled into packaging, energy from waste products and other useful materials.
The average person in England generates a whopping 392kgs of waste (about enough to fill a 10-yard skip), and the country’s landfills simply can’t sustain it.
Improperly managed waste is ending up in our oceans, damaging wildlife and the environment.
From a commercial point of view, escalating landfill taxes (geared towards reducing the amount of waste sent there) mean that getting as much value from our screening line as possible saves the company money, which can then be passed onto the customer.
As well as inquiring into a waste management company’s recycling methods, always check for a valid waste carrier’s licence and that they adhere to local and national regulations.
Need a skip without the worry of what happens to your waste? Call SunSkips today or book online using our simple, secure booking platform.