The Shotton paper mill processes 360,000 tonnes of dry, recovered paper every year and produces paper out of it.
In February 2011, the materials recovery facility at UPM Shotton was launched to process mixed materials including plastics, cans and other household recyclables gathered in the UK’s domestic recycling system. The recovery facility is able to sort up to 250,000 tonnes of mixed materials sourced from across the UK. Around 20% of the recovered paper used as a raw material in the mill’s paper production process comes from the MRF plant.
Shotton’s system for handling recovered paper in turn produces its own waste – the wet residue known as ‘pulper rejects’ – consisting mostly of paper fibres, plastics, cans and oddments. This residue can normally be burnt to produce energy, but this was not possible on the UPM Shotton site, and an alternative solution had to be developed. The challenge was to find a way to make the 20,000 tonnes of waste useful and to add value. The project produced a unique solution and system for handling production waste.
The result involved a new partnership with external waste management experts who, together, created a new product: fibrefuel, pellets created mostly from paper fibre retrieved from the wet waste. The new product is returned to UPM Shotton to generate energy, burning cleanly and completely.
Some conventional technology, screens and magnets, but also new flotation technology, unique in the UK, are used to separate materials. Plastics are flash dried, granulated and bagged into a saleable product that can be used to make, among other things, furniture and railway sleepers.