The company this week held a two-day open event to showcase the 270,000 tonne-a-year capacity plant, which is situated on UPM’s existing paper making facility at Shotton on the banks of the River Dee.
UPM developed the large-scale sorting plant in a bid to secure a steady stream of feedstock for its paper mill, which uses 100% recovered paper as source material. The material recycling facility (MRF) will provide 20% of the print mill’s input each year.
Craig Robinson, head of recovered paper sourcing at UPM, said that the development of the MRF by UPM echoed a “step change” among paper companies, which had previously been viewed as opposed to commingled collections and MRF sorted material.
Discussing the Shotton facility, Mr Robinson said that UPM had taken moves to work with its contractors to meet the needs of the local authority market – which, he said, is increasingly moving towards commingled kerbside collections.
Glass has traditionally created an issue for the paper sector due to the detrimental impact it can have on quality and the Shotton MRF is designed in order to sort commingled dry recyclables including glass.
“We often see the term ‘state-of-the-art’ but we think we have the best solution, both in terms of construction and also in how it is configured. It is the most modern equipment and the best configured,” he said.
Finnish-owned UPM first outlined plans to develop the MRF in January 2010. It subsequently received £1.7 million in funding from the Welsh Assembly Government to help finance the plant (see letsrecycle.com story).
Councils to have already agreed to send material to the plant are Cheshire East council, Denbighshire county borough council and Rochford district council. Rochford confirmed in November 2010 that it would be sending 9,000 tonnes-a-year to the North Wales plant (see letsrecycle.com story).
UPM said it was currently in discussions with private waste management companies and other local authorities about further feedstock contracts.
Simon Walker, commercial director at UPM, said the company was keen to limit “waste miles” associated with inputs and outputs for the plant. By way of example, Mr Walker presented a map charting the locations of material sold onto reprocessors that is sorted at the plant.
He said: “Eighty per cent of recyclates [sorted by UPM] go only a few miles and up to 99% of material stays within the UK. A few bits of mixed paper go overseas but this will change in the coming months to be within the UK.”
Commissioning at the plant took place in December 2010 with material trials taking place in March 2011 and the first operations started at the end of April 2011.
For more information on the MRF please see our Special Report on UPM and recovered paper quality.