Pioneering material recycling facility on track for summer operations
Published on Thursday, 6th July 2023
The West Midlands' new state-of-the-art material recycling facility (MRF) is on track to start accepting recyclate this summer.
Sherbourne Resource Park (SRP) in Coventry will be home to the new facility which will combine the latest in sorting equipment powered by cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, making it one of the most advanced plants of its size in the world.
Owned by eight local authorities including Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, the new facility will set a precedent for sustainable recycling standards and practices internationally.
SRP will not only be able to process a much wider selection of recyclable materials, it will also have the capacity to handle a huge 175,000 tonnes of dry mixed recycling from kerbside collections annually.
Residents will benefit from this facility in early autumn, when they will be able to place all their recycling materials together into their brown-lidded bin, removing the need for the separate paper and card caddy.
According to Layla Shannon, Sherbourne Recycling Business Manager, the technology will allow for more productive and proficient recycling, she said:
“Supported by AI the robotic units offer major advantages because they can identify and pick out different types of recyclable material present, while effectively learning from their experiences to make them more efficient.
“This innovative approach also future-proofs the facility, as the equipment can be programmed to target new materials, keeping track with waste markets and regulatory changes.”
The whole facility has been designed to maximise sustainability, both in terms of operation and design, Layla added:
“During the construction steps were taken to reduce the carbon footprint. Photovoltaic Panels on the roof will contribute to powering the site, supporting the use of electric forklifts from day one and electric loading shovels at the first opportunity.
"The facility will also draw power through a private wire connection from the adjacent energy-from-waste plant operated by Coventry & Solihull Waste Disposal Company.”
This unprecedented approach to materials recycling should serve as a model for other MRF projects around the country.
According to Ian Smith, business development manager for Machinex, the completed facility will offer unparalleled levels of accuracy and efficiency, compared with traditional MRFs:
“Sherbourne Resource Park brings together many different existing technologies and approaches in one package.
“It will be one of the first facilities in the world that has been designed around AI in combination with traditional sorting equipment at this scale.
“The Sherbourne Resource Park will be a big leap forward in many ways, when completed, the facility will become the benchmark for other MRFs both in the UK and beyond.
"For us at Machinex, we view this as our international showpiece. To put it simply, this MRF is the future.”
With the introduction of a student placement scheme in partnership with Warwick University, the site is also set to generate new job opportunities.
Cllr Sue Markham, Portfolio Holder for Public Services hopes that the new facility will make it easier for residents to recycle, she said:
“It is great news for Borough residents and our environment. When the Council’s recycling service is set up to provide this provision in early autumn, residents will be able to use one bin for all their recyclable materials.
"This will hopefully mean that it’s much easier for people - no separating of materials and no need for the paper and card caddy. We will let residents know when we are able to accept recycling materials in one bin. Please do not start doing so until notified.
“The fantastic technology incorporated into the site will help us reduce costs and allow a much greater amount of material to be recycled across the West Midlands.
“The build will also bring job opportunities to the region; I very much look forward to seeing the facility up and running.”
Sherbourne Recycling Facility
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