Helping waste make the change to resource

Written by: RWW | Published:

With ever more emphasis on resource efficiency and waste being seen as ‘stuff with value’, a sector that is playing a significant role in helping waste achieve its transformation into a valuable resource is shredders, balers and compactors. Joe Morris, freelance writer, speaks to four players in the market.

Earlier this month, scientists based in the frozen wastes of the South Pole peered into the first moments of our cosmos. They bore witness to a strange period in which every single thing we know of was squeezed into a space smaller than a single atom. Within fractions of a second, this baby universe expanded to many trillions of times its size, faster than the speed of light. Waves of gravitational disturbance cascaded through the fabric of reality, leaving faint echoes in the most distant reaches of space.  

According to Stephen Hawking, these post-natal ripples offer final proof that our universe is not the product of an eternal recycling programme after all. 

He is claiming victory in a long running $100 wager with US counterpart, Neil Turok, whose rival theories suggested that our current universe is merely one link in an infinite chain of cosmic expansions and compactions. Had this proven true, it would have surely been the last (and first) word in sustainable resource reuse policies. 

Luckily, however this dispute is resolved, the astronomical mass of waste we produce every year here on earth can be converted back from an ever-expanding mess and returned to its compact and useful fundamentals. 

For this we have to thank our shredder, compactor and baler manufacturers, and their tireless technical innovations that allow waste to be homogenised, compressed and generally made more user-friendly.


Take Presona, for instance, a manufacturer of balers, the devices designed to reduce volume of material into dense, square bales. 

According to the company, its pre-press baling technology, as seen in their new LP series, allows very efficient baling, as no extra power is required for cutting operations, resulting in a very favourable energy efficiency in comparison with traditional shear baling technology. 

Ulla Billing, sales and marketing manager at Presona, tells RWW about the special features  of one of their latest designs: “The LP 110 CH is a state-of-the-art baler with a range of functions and features to enhance performance and to bring a favourable life cycle cost for our customers. We have developed a new friction channel design with two heavy-duty pulling cylinders to enhance bale density and reduce wear and tear. The baler has a smart relation between fixed bale channel and friction channel to better control the added press force, to warrant the best possible bale density and perfectly shaped bales. The friction channel has a compact design to reduce wastage.”


And for Bruce Le Gros, marketing manager at Fercell, a waste industry that throws up an infinite variety of problems is an excellent opportunity for a forward-thinking firm to come to the rescue with perfectly tailored solutions. 

He explains how the process starts: “We are usually approached by a company with a problem in search of a solution. Invariably, where a shredder is the prime mover or centric to a successful solution, Fercell are capable of drawing on a plethora of plant and machinery options, including some of the most advanced shredder technology, to deliver the widest number of variances and optional inclusions possible for the optimum purpose built solution.

“No matter what the material, whatever the shredder need and process, there will be a Fercell shredder solution.”

This is no idle boast - the range of substances that Fercell products can handle makes for exhausting reading; from agricultural films to WEEE, end-of-life mattresses, PET bottles, jute, metal and uPVC windows, among many others. 

“Fercell offers an all-under-one-roof, single source supply of five of the strongest global brands, with integrated systems of all sizes up to the WEIMA Powerline 3000 Series that can process over 13 tonnes an hour, as used by LaFarge Cement in Egypt,” adds Le Gros.


Shredding not only reduces waste volume, and improves its future prospects for recycling, it is also vital for ensuring data security. 

The confidentiality of the personal information stored by public service providers is a persistent concern that rarely leaves the headlines, with its most recent manifestation being the controversy over data-sharing in the NHS. The sensitivity of these issues has led to a growing public sector market for reliable tools for dealing with confidential waste. 

HSM UK is a company that has risen to the challenge of this demanding marketplace, with products such as their HSM SP5088 shredder proving themselves daily for such users as leading NHS Foundation Trust hospital Frimley Park, which serves more than 400,000 people across North East Hampshire, West Surrey and East Berkshire.

With a clear need for an easy-to-use, operator-friendly shredder capable of meeting their security standards, they turned to the HSM SP5088 in November 2011. 

Since then, the combined shredder/baler, large loading table for pre-sorting of material prior to shredding, over loading sensors, in-feed conveyor belt and automatic oiling system for the cutting head, has shredded over 13,000 sacks of confidential waste. 

Mark Sutherland, assistant hotel services manager at the hospital, explains that the rationale behind the purchase was a straightforward cost/benefit analysis.

“It wasn’t hard to decide which machine or company to choose to purchase our shredder/baler. HSM made our decision easy with very precise information and of course a competitive price,” explains Sutherland. 

“We programmed to have pay-back on the machine over a three year period, but this has proven to see a pay-back in just over the first 12 months. Any doubts about shredding our own confidential waste quickly disappeared.”

Mach Tech

Shredders are also an essential component of any energy from waste (EfW) system, a sector that is reported to have benefitted from the Austrian-made Lindner shredders supplied by Mach Tech, as David Ingham, operations director at Mach Tech Services tells RWW. 

“Historically our main line of business has been supplying industrial shredders into the solid recovered fuel (SRF) and refuse derived fuel (RDF) markets and we are proud to say we have installed 90% of the UK’s SRF shredders. Going forward this remains a strong market for us, and we have recently launched an addition to our Komet range of secondary shredders specifically for this market.”

The renewable energy uses of these powerful shredders also extends to the growing anaerobic digestion industry.

“We are also excited to be entering into a new market this year of anaerobic digestion, with our newest machine the Limator, a versatile modular impact crusher, designed to improve gas yield by breaking up renewable resources, waste and foods as part of the anaerobic digestion process to produce bio gas,” continues Ingham.

The currently accepted theories suggest that our expanding universe means that a cold, dark, empty cosmos awaits our descendants in a few trillion years. But closer to home, with talk of economic recovery become ever more clamorous, what lies in the future for shredders and their users? 

Mach Tech’s operations director strikes an upbeat note: “With the national and international focus remaining on recycling to help the environment, we believe there is a big growth opportunity for the industrial shredding industry within the recycling sector, with potential new markets coming on line as well as existing markets increasing in size. 

“There are some issues that need ironing out, for instance where as a country do we sit when it comes to what is waste and what can be legitimately be turned into energy, and what is classed as recycling? But these issues will have to be addressed if the UK is going to achieve its targets. 

“We are confident that going forward, with a brand name like Lindner Recycling behind us, we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the waste management industry and help our customers to not only achieve their targets but improve their business performance as a result,” adds Ingham.

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