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SUEZ site-seeing | part 1

17th November 2017 Posted by

Over the past few weeks, our new External Affairs Director, Dr Adam Read has been busy touring the country and getting to know what goes on backstage at SUEZ. Following his visits, Adam put together a series of short blogs giving you a flavour of what goes on at each of the visited sites.

First stop – materials recycling facility

My induction

As part of my onboarding with SUEZ, which shouldn’t be a surprise as I have only been in post for 10 weeks, I am visiting a number of our sites to help me get up to speed on many of the issues facing our business. Now, after 20 years in the sector you might think I don’t need an induction that focuses on our sites and contracts, but that is where you are wrong. I may be conversant with the big debates facing the sector, from closure of the Chinese markets for paper and plastic, to local authority austerity and their need to deliver better municipal services for less, and have a pretty thorough grasp of the language and acronyms used across the sector, but I was far less confident with defining the DNA of SUEZ the company, and how did the big issues I am addressing daily translate to working practices and discussions at our sites and with our customers.

Clearly, getting my head around the breadth of our services, contracts, facilities and innovations was (and continues to be) key if I am to truly represent the business in my negotiations and deliberations with the likes of DEFRA, CIWM, ESA, FEAD, Policy Connect, and others. But this was more than just helping me get comfortable with our key services, facilities and products, as it was helping me to better align my position (not the one I may have taken previously as a consultant) with the day job, allowing me to truly reflect the businesses interests in the wider world. I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it… and I gather that all corporate onboarding involves some site visits and operational insights helping people to do their job more effectively, when they can see how it fits into the ‘bigger picture’ and the longer term corporate / sector agenda.

Out and about

So last week, I put on my steel toe capped boots, my hi-vis jacket and hard hat, and spent time seeing some of our sites up close and personal. And a big thank you to Graham Mayes, Chief Operating Officer, for sharing his car, his insights and his good humour on a number of long days as we travelled to Bristol, West London and Surrey in what was a very busy, but a highly rewarding week!

Avonmouth Materials Recycling Facility (MRF)

First up was our state-of-the-art materials recycling facility (MRF) in Avonmouth, which has been open for a couple of years and processes 68,000 tonnes per year of mixed dry recyclables from a number of commercial clients and  local authority contracts, notably Monmouthshire and Tewkesbury. Following a thorough site induction, and overview of the facility, it was time to get up close and personal with all of the equipment as we followed a mixed recycling load from delivery to separated bales for onward shipment to reprocessors.

DMR load

A load of mixed dry recyclables being tipped, awaiting a quality inspection before being fed onto the MRF sorting line

The MRF has a thorough mix of equipment enabling fines to be separated from the glass, papers and metals, applying density separation, weight based sorting, magnetic extraction and optical sort technologies in harmony with human eyes acting as the quality assessors.

The site delivers end products with contamination levels well below 1.5%, and lower levels are the primary target, what with increasing concerns about international end markets. The site was clean, with clear signage and colour coordinated zoning, making it an ideal site to host children’s visits from local schools and the BBC.

Quality approved bale of mixed paper waiting to be shipped off to the reprocessors

We have nine materials recycling facilities in the country, and I hope to see them all at some point, as I found my visit at the one in Avonmouth very insightful. Next stop Severnside Energy Recovery Centre (SERC). Read all about it in the next blog!

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