Innovation and Investment Key to Success for Yorwaste (Waste shredder case study)

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With the opening of its new Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) facility at the end of 2012, waste and recycling company Yorwaste is supporting a step-change within the UK waste industry with a shift in focus from waste processing to profitable fuel production. It is widely acknowledged that the UK must do more to reduce its landfill contributions and instead harness energy from waste – developing sustainable sources of renewable energy such as SRF. But it is only through innovation and investment that this will be made possible. One company that is investing heavily in SRF is Yorkshire-based waste and recycling company Yorwaste.

Steve Grieve, managing director at Yorwaste explains: “We see waste as a resource that wherever possible, needs to be re-used, recycled and recovered and to this end we strive to invest continually in the latest state-of-the-art technologies to facilitate this objective.”

This ethos can be seen in action at Yorwaste’s flagship Resource Recovery Facility near York where electricity is generated from landfill gas, green waste is composted, waste wood is recycled and liquid waste is treated.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in February, Yorwaste handles close to 1 million tonnes of MSW and C&I waste each year. In 2011/2012 the company produced 60,000 MWh of green electricity from landfill gas and now has 9.6MW of electricity generating capacity at its landfill sites. 

Despite its already solid environmental credentials, Yorwaste knows that continuous innovation and improvement is key to success and was therefore keen to introduce a new system to further reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill. A C&I recycling operation already existed at Yorwaste’s York site, but some residual waste was still being landfilled. However by investing further in the latest technology, Yorwaste has developed the C&I waste recycling and processing facility to produce SRF. This not only supports the UK’s approach to landfill diversion but also increases cost efficiencies for Yorwaste by avoiding ever-rising landfill charges. It delivers advantages for customers too, who are increasingly seeking a zero landfill waste management partner to provide them with economic and environmental benefits.

Yorwaste’s new SRF production system comprises a variety of sorting equipment, picking stations, trommels, screens, an eddy current separator, air density equipment and a single shaft secondary shredder.

The UNTHA TR3200 secondary shredder – with 1,100mm rotor and 175 rpm rotor speed – has enabled Yorwaste to achieve its desired throughput of 10 tonnes per hour, although the TR is capable of producing higher tonnages than this. A precise and powerful machine, this shredder has been specifically developed for post shredding to a consistently-sized fraction (

When it comes to producing SRF, quality is key as a precise and refined particle size is needed to satisfy the requirements of the end user, currently European cement kilns. Such quality considerations will become ever more paramount as the marketplace opens up and competition increases.

Yorwaste invested time observing various SRF processing plants in action and talking to operators at two existing facilities using UNTHA shredders, before making their decision. The whole life costs of the machine were also considered to ensure investment longevity and a return on investment.

Commenting on the procurement process Grieve says: “With its high uptime and impressive throughput capabilities we deemed the TR3200 shredder the most profitable postshredding equipment available. In particular we benefit from the quick-change cutting system which minimises downtime, the highly effective protection from foreign objects and the low operating costs.”

Yorwaste’s investment in its new SRF plant demonstrates the company’s confidence in SRF as a fuel. As the recycling industry seeks to develop new revenue streams and reduce disposal costs through renewable fuel production, it is essential for companies like Yorwaste to continue to invest and innovate.

Yorwaste is confident that as investment in the waste to energy infrastructure grows, so too will the demand for SRF as an alternative fuel. The company is set to produce 25,000 tonnes of SRF in 2013.

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