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Feature: Efficiency drive

Newtownabbey Borough Council prides itself on being at the forefront in buying machinery and introducing systems that help to improve waste and recycling. The council claims it was the first to introduce plastic wheelie bins in the UK and also the first to introduce weighing of residents’ bins. It is now the first to use the Packmat PK451, which has already been put to good use in France by changing the way that waste authorities and their contractors plan, build and operate civic amenity sites.

Arthur McCune, cleansing manager for Newtownabbey Borough Council, was responsible for bringing the Packmat machine to the Bruslee civic amenity site in Belfast. He says: “We have been searching a long time for a machine which does everything we asked for.

The Packmat is designed specifically for CA waste management and as well as being a lot more cost-effective, it means we can now compact waste and move full and empty containers ourselves, without the use of a hook-lift vehicle.”

The council has had the Packmat working on-site for just over a month and says it has already started to see significant savings. “Over an eight-day period we reduced our loads by 12, which is amazing,” says McCune. “This kind of transport reduction means that the cost savings will pay for the machine within two years.”

According to Steve Burnett of Compact & Bale, UK agent for Packmat, a common problem at civic amenity sites is waiting for a hook-lift lorry to turn up and replace full containers with empty ones, which often causes a backlog and delays for the site.

“Most CA sites are busiest at weekends and bank holidays when contractors find it hardest to provide pick-ups, and that can create real problems,” he says. “The Packmat makes CA managers much more self-sufficient and enables them to offer a better service to the public with little or no disruption.”

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