Material Recycling Facility (MRF)
In Suffolk, mixed recycling is collected by your council and is taken to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Great Blakenham in Suffolk, for separation and baling.
What happens at the MRF?
Freighters deliver your recyclable materials directly to the MRF from your home and after the consignment of material is weighed it’s loaded into large bays. From here it is shovelled onto a series of conveyor belts to begin the separation process. The material then passes through a rotating drum to remove cans and plastic bottles.
Line pickers have the unenviable job of removing larger unwanted items of unrecyclable waste (such as plastic bags, whole wheelie bins and dead animals!) by hand from the first conveyor belt. Further items of contaminating material (such as glass) are removed by hand from further conveyor belts by a team of up to 20 line pickers.
Once unwanted items have been removed during the ‘manual’ stage the mixed materials are mechanically separated into different types. A high-speed conveyor belt separates lighter items such as paper from plastic containers and cans. Cans are pulled out and separated from the plastic items by magnets. Each of the separated material types are collected in different loading bays for compacting and baled for transportation to reprocessing companies to be made into new products.
See video below for an overview of the MRF operation where all Suffolk residents kerbside recycling is sorted for onward processing: