Construction to begin on Sherbourne Recycling MRF
Image courtesy of Machinex

Construction to begin on Sherbourne Recycling MRF

The MRF will be on the outskirts of Coventry in the U.K.


Sherbourne Recycling Ltd. has been established by eight local authorities (Coventry City Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, North Warwickshire District Council, Rugby Borough Council, Strafford District Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Walsall Council and Warwick District Council) in England. The company will provide the capital for the construction of a new material recovery facility (MRF) outside Coventry. Each of the partners in Sherbourne Recycling also has committed to a long-term supply agreement with the MRF.

Plessisville, Quebec-based Machinex won the bid to supply the processing equipment for the MRF earlier this year.

Richard Dobbs, managing director of Sherbourne Recycling, says, “Over the last decade, it has been increasingly challenging and expensive for local authorities to manage recyclate collected at the kerbside. By creating a partnership, we were able to develop the business case for a regional [175,000 metric tons per year] facility, and now with Machinex on board as our process equipment provider, we are really excited about being able to take greater control and push market boundaries.”

Dobbs says now that the contracts are in place, work on the MRF can begin.

The MRF will integrate artificial intelligence (AI) and will include several sorting robots and optical sorters. The AI will allow real-time interconnectivity between the main sorting equipment, according to a news release from Sherbourne Recycling, and the data collected by the AI will assist in operations management at the MRF.

Machinex’s design uses 14 SamurAI sorting robots and 14 optical sorters (including 13 MACH Hyspec optical sorters). The company says the MRF will be “one of, if not the first, facility in the world that integrates, at this scale, artificial intelligence at the core of its system, allowing real-time interconnectivity between the main sorting equipment.”

Nottingham-based Clegg Group will build the facility.

John Moxon, business development director at Clegg Group, says, “We’re delighted to be on board and supporting with the construction of this state-of-the-art facility. This project will make a real difference to the recycling capabilities in the West Midlands, so we’re really looking forward to commencing work and bringing this project to life.”

The new facility will be on former allotment land adjacent to the Energy from Waste facility that is operated by The Coventry & Solihull Waste Disposal Co. Ltd. (CSWDC). It will be just over 12,000 square meters, roughly 129,000 square feet, set on 4-acre site.

Works are scheduled to begin on-site in early summer, taking approximately 15 months for the initial building construction to be completed. Machinex will then install the waste processing equipment. The facility is expected to be fully operational by summer 2023, Sherbourne Recycling says.

Over the last three months, the project team, led by Coventry City Council, has worked with Machinex and Clegg Group to refine the solution to maximize use of the site, and conclude the ongoing discussions with CSWDC to provide a private wire connection from the Energy from Waste Facility to power the MRF.

Jonathan Menard, vice president of sales and strategic positioning at Machinex, says, “Since selection, back in December 2020, we have worked hard with Sherbourne to offer some value engineering and finalize the contractual documentation to assure a successful project and optimize efficiency of the sorting system. We are pleased to work with the whole team at Sherbourne, and we could not think of a better partnership to accomplish the MRF of the future and to disrupt the industry.”

Once operational, the facility will process recyclables from residential and commercial sources. Sherbourne Recycling says that by investing in technologies to achieve high purity rates and tackle a wider range of materials, including single-use plastics, the facility will be able to target U.K.-based consumers and command a higher market price for the material streams created.