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Everything you need to know about MRF sampling from Axion

Axion Consulting has launched a series of specialised courses designed to develop senior waste professionals’ knowledge of the new MRF Regulations and the advantages of statistical process control based upon good sampling methodologies ahead of new legislation coming into force from October 2014.

The resource recovery specialist is believed to be among the first in the recycling sector to offer training designed specifically to help MRF operators understand the benefits of good statistical process monitoring and to provide the tools to use sampling data to boost business performance of materials recycling plants.

The course is a new addition to Axion’s training offering, which has previously focused on delivering bespoke operational training to waste and recycling facilities. The sampling training is based on practical experience gained from the sampling methodology and management information system used on Axion’s own end-of-life vehicle processing plant at Trafford Park.

Starting in May, the courses have been introduced in response to the new regulations from this October that require Materials Recovery Facilities processing more than 1,000 tonnes of mixed waste per year to test materials put into the sorting process and useable output. These results must be reported to the Environment Agency (for MRFs in England) or to Natural Resources Wales (for MRFs in Wales).

Axion Consultant Nichola Mundy said: "Over the last few years, we have realised the vital importance to our business of fully understanding sampling, measurement and reporting procedures. Now we see the MRF Code of Practice (CoP) as an opportunity to share that learning, based on the real value and benefits it’s delivered for our business.

"While it’s been a long and difficult journey to reach this point of a mandatory Code of Practice, the resulting sampling and reporting regime is something of a compromise. The next step is to take a positive look forward with a ‘glass half-full’ attitude as to how the UK’s waste sector can really benefit from this change.

"Crucially, that’s about good training and a detailed appreciation of the benefits which can accrue to a business that really embraces the concept of process sampling and measurement. This marks the point when what used to be output baled materials from scrap sorting plants, now become certified, high-quality products from modern Materials Resource Recovery Plants."

For MRF operators to maximise the value of their products, they must fully understand how to measure, sample and analyse them to produce accurate, factually-based reports for their customers, Nichola points out. That’s why there’s an immediate need for good training to allow operators to go beyond the basic requirements laid down in the regulations.

Comprehensive tuition on the courses will include practical sampling applications, best practice, required resources for implementation and tips for sampling data to benefit your material sales.

"Those companies, which embrace and understand the business benefits that can arise, will think about the right type of sampling and analysis methodology needed to deliver them in their own process plants and to make their products more attractive in the marketplace," she adds.

Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive of the Resource Association, comments: "The MRF Regulations only state the minimum sampling requirements. For a MRF to really benefit from a sampling regime, a much more rigorous sampling system would need to be implemented that would offer useful management information and add value to the business. Resource Association members Axion are to be commended on this useful training initiative."

Axion Consulting is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients, from Government agencies and local authorities to companies in diverse commercial sectors, on the practical development of new processing and collection methods to recover value from waste resources.

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