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DS Smith wins Zero Waste award for difficult-to-recycle materials

United Kingdom – Leading recovered fibre consumer DS Smith has won the Achieving Zero Waste award from the UK Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) for the Reject Processing Centre (RPC) at its 800 000-tonnes-per-year Kemsley paper mill in south-east England. Presented last week in London, the accolade formed part of CIWM’€™s 2015 Sustainability and Resource Awards.

The centre at Kemsley was established to find the best approach for waste arising from the processing and production of paper and cardboard. ‘The waste generated and subsequently used in the RPC amounted to 12 000 tonnes per annum of ragger – a byproduct of the paper pulping process containing baling wire, plastics and fibre – and 29 000 tonnes per annum of light rejects,’ the company explains. In a six-month period, a total of 12 400 tonnes was diverted from landfill. Machinery and equipment were tested with nearby Countrystyle Recycling.

A single-shaft, heavy-duty shredder was fitted to separate out the wire, plastic and wet fibrous material (WFM) from the ragger. The wire is sent for recycling and thus becomes ‘a revenue earner’ rather than a cost, generating £20 000 (US$ 30 000) in a single month. Plastics with little value are diverted into DS Smith’s onsite waste-to-energy plant to be turned into fuel.

Remaining plastics are mixed with sludge from the mill effluent process and used to process steam used back in paper production. ‘The remaining fibres (WFM) go back into the mill paper process to be reused as good fibre,’ DS Smith points out.

‘This amounts to 75% of all WFM output.’ Head of recycling Dr Jim Malone comments: ‘A zero-waste philosophy is central to the work at DS Smith and, as a company, 100% of collected resources are turned back into something useful. The Reject Processing Centre demonstrates that we are delivering on our aims and closing the loop on as many materials as possible.’

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