Material recovery facilities facing inflation problems, says Re-Gen waste chief – Armagh I

We are all aware that fuel, electricity and food costs have increased significantly and will continue to increase over the next 6-12 months. We felt it on our wallets.

Additionally, with the June 2022 inflation rate at 9.4%, many costs are beyond the control of material recovery facility management. We still have to pay wages and salaries, run our machines and cranes on electricity, and power our mobile plant on what seems far too frequent a basis.

Our contracts with local authorities have been reviewed on the basis of the consumer price index as part of the annual contractual agreements. This is important because macro-environmental issues such as fuel and electricity costs, as well as inflation-related salary increases, have increased our operational costs.

Fortunately, at Re-Gen, we don’t have to deal with a labor-intensive curbside sorting process where there have been recruiting and retention issues.

We work with local authorities who have mixed systems for households and this means sorting is our responsibility. The role of the head of household is to provide clean, dry and sorted materials in his recycling bin. The exception being the lids of milk and beverage containers where they must be attached.

Providing a convenient and simple collection system for the household is the best way for local authorities to reach the municipal recycling target of 65%. I also think the mixed service is more reasonably priced than the curbside sorting option.

Our materials recovery facility still has significant labor levels, but the roles of our plant operators are changing due to the greater technology we have introduced.

We have invested £9 million in our factory over the past five years as we believed Brexit, labor shortages and impending changes in the waste sector, would mean radical investment and progress in how we recycle and improve the quality of our outgoing products. materials and to sustain our services to customers.

Installing a high-voltage cable, transformer and energy-saving LED lighting in the MDR extension we built last year are just a few of the sustainable approaches we have taken. adopted. Adding to the energy efficiency of the building, we installed an air system for the compressors. Our recycling process has a highly automated – and very powerful – section to assist with sorting. It is simply the excellence of sorting.

We work with suppliers of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to measure, analyze and validate materials in our recycling streams. This AI-inspired data on the long-term sustainability of resources will be useful to local authorities, processors, DAERA and Defra, and bodies such as the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP ) – and we expect them to drive circular economy initiatives. It will also be valuable on the occasion of the publication of the long-awaited results of the EPR and DRS consultations, and their corresponding detailed plans for the deconcentrated administrations.

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