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Recycling at home

Materials Recycling Facility

The recycling collected from Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham Boroughs is sorted by the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Smallmead Waste Management Park.

Recycling collection vehicles deposit the recycling they have collected in the tipping hall of the MRF. The first stage of the sorting process is loading the material into the MRF and onto the conveyor belt system.

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Common items of contamination found in recycling bins include plastic carrier bags, glass bottles and jars, textiles, videotapes and food waste. Items that have been removed in the past include duvets, electrical items, car parts, dirty nappies and dead animals.  While the sorting machine is capable of removing some of these items, much of the contamination is removed by hand, by the staff working on the sorting machine. If these items are not removed, they can cause damage to the sorting machine, which can lead to expensive repairs and downtime.

Once large items of contamination have been removed in the pre-sort cabin, the recycling is sorted by size in the trommel. As the trommel spins round, recycling falls out of the holes onto a number of conveyor belts. The disc screen then helps to remove any glass that may have incorrectly been put in recycling bins. If glass is left in the process, small fragments can contaminate other material streams. Glass fragments in the paper stream can cause damage to the product in the recycling process.

Small, light fragments of paper are sorted by a vacuum (called an air knife) which sucks paper away from other materials. Food and drinks cans are sorted according to the type of metal they are made from. Steel cans are attracted to a magnet, and aluminium cans are sorted by an eddy current separator.

Optical sorters allow us to sort the plastic bottles from the paper remaining on the conveyor belts. A beam of light is used to detect what materials are on the conveyor belt, and jets of air are used to separate different materials.

Small, light fragments of paper are sorted by a vacuum (called an air knife) which sucks paper away from other materials. Food and drinks cans are sorted according to the type of metal they are made from. Steel cans are attracted to a magnet, and aluminium cans are sorted by an eddy current separator.

Optical sorters allow us to sort the plastic bottles from the paper remaining on the conveyor belts. A beam of light is used to detect what materials are on the conveyor belt, and jets of air are used to separate different materials.

The final stage of the sorting process is to bale materials before they are sent for reprocessing.

Factsheets

Click on the factsheet below to find out about the different ways waste is recycled and processed.

Material Recycling Facility

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