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Mobile MRF helps Heathrow analyse waste to boost recycling

Heathrow airport has just completed an innovative analysis of its waste stream, using an on-site mobile MRF.

The airport currently recycles 34% of its waste, but needs to better understand its waste stream in order to achieve its target of 70% recycling by 2020.

Closed Loop Environmental Solutions, the consultancy sister company of Closed Loop Recycling, ran the waste composition analysis over two months. Waste from six different parts of the airport was run slowly through the MRF on a positive picking basis, for a period of a week each.

The results have given Heathrow detailed information on what waste is generated in different parts of the airport, so that it can work out how best to extract material for recycling and investigate end markets from which to generate income.

Heathrow waste and environment manager Mark Robertson said: “What the airport would like is to be realising the value from its waste stream: whether we can sell it as recycling or a resource or generate energy for ourselves.

“I need to advise the business on how it gets to where it wants to be by 2020 and part of that involves understanding what is in the waste stream. Now I can go back to the business on a cost benefit basis and say: ‘these are the options’.”

Heathrow generates around 110,000 tonnes of waste a year and analysed 100 tonnes in its waste study. Around 2.5% of its waste stream is coffee cups, which it is looking to recycle at the Sonoco Alcore beverage carton recycling plant, due to open this year.

With the Heathrow project under its belt, CLES is now looking to take its new method of waste composition analysis to the market. The mobile MRF, built within a 40ft shipping container, can lifted and dropped on to a site within a day.

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