First thing last Tuesday morning I arrived at the CCC2 Materials Recovery Facility in Parkhouse Road. The sky was super dark and it was really cold (arrived in a hail storm) but the tour of the massive recyclables sorting machine was still very informative (the MRF machine is housed in a 4000 square metre building). The photos are not the best due to the bad light but it gives you an idea. It was put in place about 15 months ago and can process all of Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimak’s recyclables. Each stage of the machine does a different process and there is still some hand sorting in some areas (like pulling out clothes, floppy plastic and in one case a toy plastic gun!). Clothes are the biggest contaminant of recyclable bins – we as yet have no facility to recycle textiles and fabrics.
A basic run down is that all of the trucks come in to the park and dump the recyclables that have come from the yellow bins into a big pile at one end. This is then scooped up and placed on a movable floor. At different points there are different types of screens and separators so that different types of waste drop down onto another conveyer to go into their respecitive piles and there are even magnets to pull out the metals. Small items like bits of glass also drop down into their own conveyer belt and there is a large glass pile at the end of the process. This glass is used for such things as grit blasting and filtration systems. Nearly at the end of the process there is an optical sorter that can determine the different types of plastic (HDPE, PET etc) through the use of infared scanning and group them so they are separated (making it easier to on-sell) and then right at the end is the baler to bale up all of the different types of wastes (for local and international recyclers).
CCC have done a great video of the whole process which shows you much better than the photos below. You can watch a video of the process here.
Here are the photos from the site visit: