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Island imperative on baling up its waste

Covering some 45 square miles, the channel island of Jersey’s population is currently around 100,000 and growing.

As an attractive holiday destination this is boosted significantly each year, with around 10 visitors to every resident.

Jersey has a zero landfill policy which puts the focus firmly on recycling, with any residual waste going to incineration at the island’s energy-from-waste plant. The goal is to remove as much recyclable material as possible and the commodities are then baled and shipped off-island for processing, either to France or England. The island simply does not have the resources or scale for its own facilities.

Jersey is divided into 12 parishes, with St Helier, the largest by population, responsible for kerbside collections and recycling for one-third of the population, plus the collection and processing of card and packaging waste from 70% of the island’s commercial properties.

Increasing recycling capacity and throughput with the flexibility to handle a wider range of waste streams – cardboard and plastics including PET and HDPE, newspaper and light card – is particularly important to St Helier Municipal Services (SHMS). Transportation off-island remains expensive, so optimising this is essential. There is also a requirement for high-quality and compact bales of recycled waste to ensure each container carries a maximum load while satisfying St Helier’s French recycling partner and reprocessing mills.

Part of the solution has been to upgrade the baling operation with a Scapa ME80 closed-end, semi-automatic baler and bespoke feed conveyor, manufactured and installed by Middleton Engineering. These replaced a previous vertical baler and more than doubled throughput overnight. Where previously the team was able to produce two bales an hour using a manually operated vertical baler, the horizontal baler can achieve three times the output and has meant that commodities can be cleared as they come into the facility.

Piers Tharme, facilities and resources manager for the Parish of St Helier, explains: “We needed a solution that would deliver instant improvements but one that could also be enhanced as requirements grow. For example, the facility to add an in-floor conveyor to speed loading could be important in the future and we needed to know that this was possible. With many suppliers, the attitude is ‘you get what is supplied or you need to buy the next model up’.”

Selecting Middleton was in part due to a fortuitous visit to municipal colleagues in the Channel island of Alderney, who were using a Middleton baling press; Guernsey also uses a Middleton machine. Knowing that this relationship already existed with the islands was an important factor. Indeed, Middleton clearly has an affinity with island recycling requirements having also supplied to Malta and the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides too.

Advantages of its equipment are the small footprint of the machine, important where space is at a premium, reliability and improved bale stability. Previously the SHMS team was unable to produce consistently stable bales of paper and card and, consequently, were not achieving the best prices.

Now the team is able to deal with everything, producing a consistently well-shaped and stable product. And because they can now manage other commodities all with the same machine, the financial benefits are kept in-house. It has also enabled SHMS to confidently roll out a kerbside recycling scheme to the whole parish.

“A further benefit of the Middleton relationship is that we are dealing directly with the manufacturer,” explains Tharme. “It is the same relationship we enjoy with our vehicle supplier. It means knowledgeable people are there to deal with issues quickly if something goes wrong, and there is a higher level of service and backup.”

“Now that we are able to increase our processing ability and have confidence in the solution, we can focus on the business of promoting additional kerbside recycling and to further support the island’s recycling ambition.”

Guernsey bales for reuse

Guernsey’s largest independent waste recycler, Island Waste, was the first to process and ship refuse-derived fuel off-island following the installation of a twin-ram baler and conveyor from Middleton Engineering. With the only landfill site expected to close, baling and exporting the island’s rubbish is now key to Guernsey’s waste strategy.

Mark Smith is technical director at Middleton Engineering 

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