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Inspiration for the waste industry

The RWM with CIWM show is the waste and recycling industry’s main event in the UK. MRW looks back at some of the highlights from this year

RWM 2013 in partnership with CIWM confirmed more than 13,000 (unaudited) visitors attended the three-day i2i event, held in Birmingham’s NEC earlier this month.

As the 2013 event closed its doors, RWM confirmed its move into larger halls from 2014 to meet increased demand and to support growth in the future. The event moves into halls 4 and 5 from next year and takes place from 16 to 18 September 2014, along with partner environment shows, The Energy Event, The Renewables Event and The Water Event (taking place 16-17 September in hall 3).

Steve Lee, CIWM chief executive said: “Once again, the waste and resource management industry came together at the NEC to do business, gain insight into key trends and issues from a wealth of expert commentators, and network with colleagues and contacts.

“The level of innovation on display and the liveliness of the conference panel debates show how vibrant and forward-looking this sector is and how important a contribution it can make to the resource efficiency and security agenda. With so many exhibitors and visitors from all over Europe and beyond, the show has also firmly established itself as the leading annual European event for waste and resource management.”

Dan Thurlow, portfolio director for the environment events at i2i Events Group, including RWM in partnership with CIWM, added: “We’ve had a hugely positive response to the event, which was backed up by a huge demand for space next year and a record-breaking re-book on site, which truly demonstrates the strength of commitment to the future growth of RWM.”

To find out more information for 2014, visit

Inspiring speakers

RWM 2013’s conference offering was the biggest yet, with over 150 speakers chosen for their ground-breaking ideas, extensive experience and international reputations.

One of the most inspirational talks came from Lord Robert Winston, who offered a sideways look at waste: How humans think: how are we motivated to improve the world around us? Covering prehistoric axe heads, opera music, lasers and running rats, Winston’s talk was all about the unpredictable nature of technology and how creators should be aware of the downsides of the things they create whilst embracing the positives.

Other inspiring big name speakers included Tristram Stuart, who spoke about the global food waste scandal; Andy Pag, who shared his experience of travelling around the world fuelled by waste cooking oil; broadcaster and journalist Lucy Siegle, who explored how to engage consumers and Rosie Boycott, journalist and food advisor to London’s mayor, who spoke on leveraging third sector enterprise.

Popular features

The WAMITAB Skills Village, which was new to RWM this year, and the popular Communications Hub were busy throughout the three days. The Skills Village offered bite-sized sessions packed full of careers, development and safety advice. While sessions in the Communications Hub were constantly full and provided support, case studies and advice in good communications practice.

Announcements, new initiatives and pledges

The issue of rough sleepers being injured in waste bins was addressed in the Biffa, CIWM and StreetLink announcement on the Wednesday of the show. The three organisations are developing research on homelessness, which they hope will put an end to accidents and fatalities that result in rough sleepers taking shelter in bins.

Visitors to SWR’s [pic] stand added their ‘green commitment’ pledges to its pledge tree, encouraging them to think about how they could be more sustainable and do something different or better that would have a positive impact on the environment.

CIWM gave visitors their first opportunity to see two innovative online compliance tools currently being developed with EU LIFE+ funding. The first was Edoc (electronic duty of care) which is being developed by the Environment Agency in partnership with other UK government bodies and the waste sector for roll out from January 2014.  The second was part of EQual, an Environment Agency-led EU LIFE+ programme that aims to encourage the use of products made from waste. The Quality Protocol Checker was being launched at the show for industry-wide user testing. It is designed to help companies to self-assess whether their waste-derived product complies with an existing Quality Protocol.

The UK Trade & Investment stand was also a key destination for visitors, where delegates could meet directly with international buyers and trade and investment officers from across the globe. They ran a number of internationally focused seminars, including opportunities in the growing Brazilian economy, which coincided with the RWM show’s upcoming debut in Brazil, which takes place from 1 to 2 October.

Exhibitor viewpoint: feedback, launches and sales from the show

Mach Tech

Shredder specialist Mach Tech Services is celebrating the first sale of one of its newest shredders at this year’s show.

Premier Waste UK bought the Komet HP SRF shredder after seeing it displayed on Mach Tech’s stand. The Komet HP, the latest addition to the Lindner Komet range of industrial shredders, is capable of producing cement kiln grade SRF at between 15 and 18 tonnes an hour and has 50% more throughput per hour than the average cement kiln grade shredder.

David Ingham, operations director for Mach Tech, said: “We were delighted to be able to sell our newest Komet at the show. Premier Waste is a long-standing customer of ours and a big advocate for Lindner machinery so it makes perfect sense that they wanted the latest and best technology there is on the market for SRF cement kiln shredding.”

Worsley Plant

Equipment supplier Worsley Plant’s success at the recent RWM show included the sale of a Remu EE4220 coal processing bucket to Cheetham Hill Construction, a civil engineering and construction contractor based in Bury, Lancashire.

Cheetham Hill Construction will use the bucket on a new Caterpillar 349E Excavator to condition coal spoil. It will be reclaiming the spoil, which is a waste product, then mixing it with raw feed coal, used to fire power stations. This helps provide a better blend of product to keep the burning temperature at an acceptable level, helps recycle the spoil which would otherwise be left unused, and helps keep costs down by blending raw feed coal with recycled materials.


This year’s RWM saw the latest development of Bollegraaf’s sorting robot (RoBB QC), and the innovative anti-wrapping StarScreen by Lubo on the Bollegraaf stand. The new additions to the Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions product range drew a lot of attention especially as RoBB was travelling onto Hanbury Plastics Recycling in Stoke for further extensive plastic sorting trials after the show. 

A Bollegraaf spokesperson said: “We feel that this was possibly the best presence Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions has had at the RWM show and this generated a good quantity of positive leads.”

Bell Equipment

Bell Equipment returned to RWM after a successful show in 2012, bringing a L1706E high-lift wheeled loader that had recently been sold to Premier Waste.  The model has been fully specified for work in waste management environments, featuring a high-lift bucket; solid rubber tyres and cab, cavity and axle guards.  It also incorporates Bell’s QuadCool cooling system, proven to combat the risk of dust build-up.  The machine was delivered to Premier Waste directly from the NEC.

Tomra Sorting

Tomra Sorting used the show to urge metal reprocessors and MRF operators in the UK to double the value of their Zorba material by opting for sensor-based sorting technology as an alternative to dense media plant treatment.

The majority of metal reprocessors currently either sell Zorba, which is the shredded non-ferrous metal that originates from End-of-Life Vehicles or WEEE, as a low grade material or pay a third party to collect and treat it using dense media plants.

Tomra asserts that sensor-based sorting technology gives metal reprocessors, and MRF owners, the opportunity to upgrade their mixed metals material on site and sell it onto the market without involving third parties. By combining two automated Tomra Sorting solutions – TiTech xtract and TiTech combisense – the company says it is possible to remove any heavy metals from aluminium scrap to produce a melt-ready aluminium fraction, and then to sort the remaining heavy metals by colour to recover clean fractions of copper, brass and mixed heavy grey metals.

Brian Gist, Tomra Sorting UK sales engineer, said: “The dense media plants historically used by metal reprocessors to increase the value of Zorba really are an old, inefficient and costly way to treat this valuable and in-demand waste stream. The cost of running sensor-based sorting equipment is just 20% of that of dense media plants. Furthermore, with sensor-based sorting, metal reprocessors and MRF operators alike could achieve top market prices for their high quality recovered material.  The financial benefits make for a strong argument against dense media plants.

“It makes better sense for metal reprocessors and forward-thinking MRF operators to cut out the third party processing costs and recover high quality fractions rather than trade in poor quality material.”

Untha UK

Untha UK used augmented reality – a first for the show – to help visitors experience and interact with its vast waste-to-energy XR pre-shredder without it physically being there.  

Using tablets and smart phones to view the machine, visitors could experience and interact with the machine: doors could be opened, the cutters turned and the inner workings of the shredder examined in detail. Miniature versions of the augmented reality also allowed attendees to hold a shredder in their hands.

Untha UK managing director Chris Oldfield said: “In devising the augmented reality concept for our shredder we wanted to create a talking point – something different that attracted people to our stand and enabled them to have fun whilst learning more about what we do.

“Of course there are also environmental benefits to be gained from exhibiting an ‘invisible’ XR shredder, rather than the real 28-tonne equivalent, and after all, this whole event is about encouraging us to adopt more sustainable business practices.”

Your thoughts on the future of recycling

This year, MRW invited RWM visitors to share their thoughts on the future of recycling and display them on MRW’s stand. Here’s a snapshot of their responses:

  • “A limited future, as recycling becomes the normal way we operate and win resources.”
  • “The future will depend on what we don’t put in our waste. If you view waste as a product that can be used, that’s where the wins lie.”
  • “We need more innovation, development of products from recycled materials and initiatives from Government to invest in new ideas. Sending to China is not good enough.”
  • “Leadership: people with vision to deliver a difficult and costly concept. Lateral thinking: mobilise social pressure – a mixture of carrot and stick. Effective communications: clear and readily understandable messages which demonstrate value.”
  • “Recycling in the UK is still an emerging business. With the progress and development of technology, exciting times and commercial benefits exist for companies with a positive approach.”
  • “More incentives for segregation, reduction and prevention of waste. Look at alternative recycling methods.”
  • “There will be a move towards greater source segregation and dedicated return/collection, as we move closer to a more circular economy.”
  • “To ensure maximum waste prevention we must look to ensure we have adaptable design and incorporate reusable/sustainable products.”
  • “The future of recycling starts with a very basic message: stop over-producing. Make durable and flexible products and spread the culture of ‘enough’ – then all the other solutions will flow naturally.”
  • “Recycling is the future but business needs to adopt the household ethos of recycling.”
  • “The future will be that everything we manufacture needs to be recycled – there will be no ‘end of life’.”
  • “A future where all packaging and short-life products are only allowed to be placed on the market if there is a practical, economic, sustainable reuse or recycling route for them at the end of their life. A tax on low efficiency waste incineration processing.”
  • “The UK infrastructure needs to catch up with user appetite, more cutting through of red tape is needed, and recycling ‘co-operatives’ need to be explored whereby best practice can be cultivated and shared.”
  • “Segregation is key and people’s understanding and awareness of this and of recycling generally is what needs to improve for this to happen.”
  • “Children are the future, so we should be doing more to influence them and educate them on the importance of recycling.”
  • “Behavioural change is the way forward, education at national and local level.”
  • “Quality of recyclate will need to improve but secondary quality materials will be recycled not incinerated. SRF will become lower grade. Could glass bottles revert to deposit and return? Or even lose branding to allow universal use?”

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