Greenstar invests €20 million in recycling facility


Greenstar, Ireland’s largest waste management company, has announced (12 May) a €20 million redevelopment of its Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Bray, Co. Wicklow.

The investment will see the facility divert 135,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year and brings Greenstar’s investment in the waste sector to €275 million over the past seven years.

The state-of-the-art Commercial and Industrial (C&I;) waste line is now fully automated and able to process ten different types of recyclable materials - including paper, cardboard, plastics, wood, stone and metals. This will increase recycling rates from 42 per cent to 70 per cent for C&I; waste. It will also have the ability to recycle 95 per cent of Construction and Demolition (C&D;) waste. This type of waste currently accounts for 55 per cent of all waste generated in Ireland, but only 36 per cent of the non-stone and soil fraction of this waste was recycled nationally in 2006 - the latest year for which data is available - down from 43 per cent in 2005.

The facility also features a new automated Dry Mixed Recyclables (DMR) line, which will process 25,000 tonnes of commercial and household green bin waste per annum. Best-in-class technology allows automated separation of materials - including aluminium and steel cans, paper, cardboard, plastics and steel. This permits 90 per cent recovery rates and a higher quality of material at the end of the process.

€3.5 million of the investment went towards the construction of a new ‘green‘ office for the facility’s 130 staff. Energy-efficient innovations include -

  • the installation of solar panels to heat the building’s water
  • a natural gas engine to power the air conditioning system - and
  • the use of materials recovered from C&D; waste in the foundations of the building.

In addition, a combined heat and power plant (CHP) will generate electricity and thermal energy for the building in a single, integrated system.

Commenting, Steve Cowman, CEO of Greenstar, said - “This investment is an important part of our strategy of ensuring that all our facilities use the best available technologies to ensure maximum recovery rates and operational efficiencies. It will be of benefit to our business customers who are very focused on the environment and their waste compliance - helping them to meet their environmental targets and lower costs.

"This continuing investment by Greenstar is going someway towards addressing the country’s critical lack of waste infrastructure. However, if Ireland is serious about meeting its EU waste targets before the looming 2010 deadline, then the Government needs to create the right regulatory environment to encourage investment in alternative, viable technologies such as Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT).

"Greenstar has earmarked over €100m for investment in MBT in the next three years - if the Government acts, so too will the private sector.”

The expanded facility was officially opened on Monday 12 May by Minister Dick Roche, T.D. for Wicklow. The facility will accept waste from the Greater Dublin area. It meets all EPA requirements and will be operated to the highest standards of international and environmental best practice.

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