Waste management firm Skipway has invested in a new trommel fines recycling plant, commissioned by waste recycling experts CDE

Skipway Waste Management in Lisburn has commissioned the first trommel fines plant in Northern Ireland in a bid to push the boundaries in sustainable innovation.

Designed and engineered by industry experts CDE, the new 50tph plant is situated at Skipway’s site outside Lisburn, County Antrim. The completed plant will significantly enhance the company’s current operations and contribute to a major improvement to the sustainability of the business.

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Innovative solutions devised by CDE have equipped Skipway with the technology to advance the circular economy in Northern Ireland with this unique trommel fines recycling plant.

Skipway was acquired by the R. Heatrick Group in 2012. The company had many years of experience in the recycling of demolition wastes and acquired Skipway to further diversify into the recycling industry by providing skip hire and investing in the materials recovery facility. Following this acquisition R. Heatrick Ltd continued to grow under the Skipway trading name and became a major force in the recycling industry through investment, innovation and providing a fast and reliable service that’s unparalleled to their competitors.

R. Heatrick Ltd is a family run business established in 1969 with hard work and dedication to quality at its core. Over the 53 years in business R. Heatrick Ltd has been able to diversify and establish itself in demolition, haulage, quarrying and the recycling industries to meet the demands of their client, helping to create an internal circular economy and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill helping to develop a more sustainable Northern Ireland.

Turning waste into resources
Skipway’s primary aim was to divert trommel fines from landfill and convert the material into a resource by producing recycled product with the same specification and quality as quarry grade sand, therefore making it suitable for concrete and building products while also improving the quality of other recycled aggregates such as pipe bedding and recycled hardcore.

The company processes construction, demolition and commercial wastes through a dry waste processing plant and picking station to recover materials and divert them from landfill. Trommel fines are a by-product generated during the recovery process.

The fibrous nature of trommel fines makes them difficult to separate and recycle so they have traditionally been sent to landfill, rather than addressing the challenge of upcycling this material. As they are traditionally high in lightweight, organic content, trommel fines generally fail to meet the specified Loss on Ignition (LOI) threshold of 10%, therefore incurring the standard, and higher, landfill tax rate.

When the landfill tax was introduced in October 1996, as a measure to encourage waste producers and the waste management industry to switch to more sustainable alternatives for disposing of material, the standard rate was just £7. In April 2022, the standard landfill tax rate which trommel fines incur was increased to £98.60 per tonne1.

As a dual measure to reduce costs and decrease waste going to landfill, Skipway sought to find a solution to extract the potential value of trommel fines and so approached waste recycling experts CDE. Through their unique collaborative approach, CDE engaged with Skipway to fully understand their existing process and what they wished to achieve. Together they created a solution suited to Skipway’s stipulations to help them ultimately divert more waste from landfill which in turn contributes to their internal circular economy.

The solution
CDE proposed a trommel fines wet processing plant, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, to equip Skipway with the means to wash & segregate material and recover materials from C&D waste.

The plant, which incorporates AggMaxTM modular logwasher, EvoWashTM sand wash plant with Counter Flow Classification Unit (CFCUTM), AquaCycleTM  thickener and static screens, operates at a rate of 50tph.

Through the washing process, the plant removes the lightweight and organic material directly linked to LOI and transform the largest proportion of the trommel fines waste stream into sellable products for the construction market. Its trommel fines solutions segregate and concentrate lightweight and organic materials into isolated fractions so they are easier and more cost effective to dispose of, whilst converting the heavy fractions into sellable sand and aggregate products.

Skipway’s CDE plant includes a CFCUTM which uses density separation to remove the fibrous, organic, and polystyrene materials which contribute to the high LOI content of trommel fines. Once these materials are removed a high-quality finished sand product remains, creating a fresh revenue stream while saving on landfill costs.

Further sustainability contributions will be made through CDE’s EvoWashTM, which provides unrivalled dewatering performance, with InfinityTM dewatering screen technology to result in an increased power to weight ratio for lower running costs through reduced power consumption.

Resulting in increased value
Following the commissioning and installation of this plant, Skipway are now producing coarse aggregates, coarse and fine sands for use in in concrete production, drainage, and construction bedding.

By washing the inert materials to remove contamination, clean sand and aggregates extracted from the trommel fines waste can be resold and reused in the secondary aggregates market to close the loop on waste, contributing to a circular economy and opening new revenue streams for the company to ensure swift return on investment.

Fergal Campbell, Business Development Manager for CDE, is delighted to see Northern Ireland showcasing the latest technology in trommel fines recycling.

“At CDE we’re passionate about contributing to a circular economy and enabling our customers with our innovative technologies so they can play their part. Skipway’s local landfill is reaching capacity so it’s encouraging to see them so passionate about landfill diversion and extracting the value that we can get from waste streams like trommel fines and reusing outputs, such as sand for concrete.

“Plants like this are the future of the industry in their ability to minimise waste and maximise value. It’s been a pleasure to work with Skipway and we really look forward to seeing how this partnership can contribute to Northern Ireland’s circular economy.”

Trevor Heatrick, Director at Skipway, added: “It was an easy choice for us when we decided to invest in the new plant. Compared to other manufacturers, CDE has the edge. We had numerous other options in front of us, however CDE displayed their knowledge and expertise from the sales stage through to the delivery of the project. Every aspect of the material processing that they highlighted as being required, we can see the benefit of now.

“One of our biggest issues was that our material contains a lot of polystyrene which can be hard to remove, and we found that CDE had the best and most robust solution in ensuring that this material could be removed

“CDE were able to create a product tailored to us which is helping us achieve the goals that we presented them with. Close collaboration meant that we were able to have input on the design of the plant so that it addressed our needs and did the job we wanted it to do. Working with CDE was an easy process and we’re delighted to be able to push the boundaries in sustainable innovation.”

For more information about CDE and its wet processing solutions, visit cdegroup.com

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