Grundon Waste Management is set to advance the UK’s aerosol recycling market this Spring after a major investment in a state-of-the-art recycling facility.
Capable of processing around 9,000 aerosols an hour – more than ten times the capacity of the current unit – the Hazpak 6000 is the world’s most advanced closed loop aerosol recycling system, according to the company.
The Thames Valley-based waste and recycling specialist has invested a “significant” sum in the new unit, which will be installed at its Hazardous Waste Transfer Station at Ewelme in Oxfordshire.
Jonathan Harris, Grundon’s technical general manager, said: “The Hazpak has huge potential to transform the way the public, commerce and industry handles the disposal of aerosol cans.
Jonathan Harris, Grundon – “The Hazpak has huge potential to transform the way the public, commerce and industry handles the disposal of aerosol cans”
“Today’s focus has to be on moving materials up the waste hierarchy, away from disposal towards more recycling. This equipment has the power to make that goal one step closer.
“We believe the sheer volume of aerosols the unit is capable of handling will drive more sophisticated return and recycling schemes by major manufacturers, retailers and local authorities.”
The new Hazpak 6000 is one of only two plants in the UK to offer Best Available Technology (BAT) for the disposal of waste aerosols.
Due to begin operations in March and expected to be fully operational by the end of April, the closed loop system operated by the Hazpak 6000 means every single component is recycled. The metal from the cans will be sent for recycling, while liquids (such as hairspray, paint or deodorant) will be separated for recovery or recycling; and the propellants (such as butane or LPG) are collected and used by Grundon to fuel in-house operations and/or generate electricity.
Compared to the current Hazpak, which processes around 4 cubic metres (6,000 aerosols) a day, the new operation will be able to handle 6 cubic metres an hour – approximately 72,000 aerosols a day on an average eight hour shift.
The most recent Environment Agency guidelines on the storage and treatment of waste aerosols demand that companies meet much higher environmental standards by using BAT to capture the three main elements of aerosols.
When changes to existing processes are made, the Environment Agency will enforce the requirement for BAT, according to Grundon.
“This system sets new standards within the industry,” Harris said. “Our investment in BAT gives us significant advantages over other disposal aerosol methods such as shredding, which can be a potential fire and environmental hazard if vapours escape during the process.
“By ensuring all the compacting takes place within an inert atmosphere, we remove the possibility of a similar hazard and ensure that no harmful gases or vapours are released. We believe this is the way the whole industry should be moving, because it is not only safer for employees and those who live close to recycling operations, but it is also much more environmentally friendly.”
In addition to handling aerosols, the Hazpak 6000 will be capable of processing paint tins, oil filters, varnishes, inks and small gas cylinders.