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Materials Recycling Facility

As part of Cawleys suite of waste recovery technologies, Cawleys runs Materials Recycling Facilities (MRF) at both the Luton and Wellingborough depots to ensure maximum recycling rates for its customers.

Referred to as a mixed ‘wet’ MRF, the facility does not require waste to be pre-sorted before going through the system – as a customer of Cawleys, all of your waste will be processed through the MRF to ensure that everything that can be recycled, is recycled.

The mixed ‘wet’ or ‘dirty’  MRF at the Luton depot represents a £3 million investment in a semi-automated system, which aims to recover at least sixty per cent of all waste collected; for the construction industry this could mean as much as 85 per cent recovery.

The Process

The waste is tipped on to a storage bay at the MRF, and then slowly fed onto a series of conveyor belts to begin the trip around the facility. Each area in the plant helps to separate one type of recyclable material from another:

  • screens/trommels can help to remove the larger pieces of recyclables;
  • magnetic separation can remove the ferrous metals (such as cans made of tin);
  • optical separation can separate certain types of plastics such as the different types of plastic bottles that can be collected and recycled;
  • air classification can help to separate light and heavy materials (paper for example)

Once separated, the materials can go on for further recycling. For example, glass will go on to a re-processor where it be used as low grade aggregate (a material often used in the construction of roads as a substitute for sand) and the cardboard goes on to a UK paper mill to make new cardboard.