Wincanton unveils £4.5m WEEE recycling plant

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Wincanton has opened a £4.5m WEEE recycling plant in Billingham, near Middlesbrough.

The state-of-the-art facility is capable of processing up to 75,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of 826,500 washing machines, 67 million kettles, or 536 million mobile phones. Electronic waste and electrical items are taken back to the basic material that can be recycled, in line with the requirements of the WEEE Directive.

The sophisticated machine, developed and manufactured by German company MeWa, can process a wide range of electrical items. Goods fed into the machine go through a cross-cut grinder to release all the internal components, such as circuit boards, batteries, and capacitors, without damaging their integrity. These components can then be recycled. The remaining components, including metals and plastics, are granulated and separated to their constituent parts for recycling.

Graeme McFaull, chief executive, said: “This is a significant investment in an innovative capability that, for the first time, will facilitate the full spectrum of recycling and reprocessing services in the UK. Our reverse logistics services offered to retailers, manufacturers, businesses and local authorities now include an all-encompassing solution for all aspects of the WEEE Directive, including refurbishment, sorting materials, recycling and waste management.”

Under the WEEE Directive, it will be necessary for retailers and manufacturers to take back and recycle end-of-life electrical goods using ‘best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques’, or discharge responsibility via compliance schemes. The commissioning of the new machine means that Wincanton will be able to provide a ‘one-stop solution’ to meet WEEE collection needs.

This plant will complement Wincanton’s existing fridge recycling capabilities, and its national network for the collection, sortation and consolidation of WEEE.

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