Recycling experts Scott Bros has invested £1m in a new and environmentally-sustainable “urban quarry”.
The Teesside company’s state-of-the-art wash plant takes waste material and converts it into high quality sand and aggregate for use in the building and construction industry.
It is capable of processing between 50 and 70 tonnes of waste per hour to produce both coarse and fine sand, together with three grades of aggregate.
The recycled products are not only cost-effective for customers but reduce the amount of environmental damage involved in the quarrying and production of primary materials.
Currently some 20 percent of the wash plant’s output – a clay-based substance produced during the filtration process – cannot be recycled.
However, Thornaby-based Scott Bros is working in conjunction with academics at Teesside University’s School of Science, Engineering and Design, to find a practical use for the residue.
One possible use being explored is that the material could be incorporated into the brick manufacturing process.
The materials processed by the wash plant, situated at the company’s site at Norton Bottoms, next to the A19 flyover, is largely made up of construction and excavation waste.
The wash plant, which is in modular form and easily relocated, was designed, supplied and installed by family-run firm Parnaby Cyclones, based near Ferryhill, County Durham.
It supplies equipment to industries involved in mining, quarrying, recycling and mineral sectors across the globe.
The firm’s transport manager Peter Scott said: “We have created what is in reality an urban quarry which is producing in-demand products for the construction industry by recycling waste soil excavations.
“Scott Bros has made a significant investment because we believe this sustainable alternative will form a major part of our future business.
“We have already received a great deal of interest since the wash plant was commissioned.
“It’s also particularly pleasing to have been supported in this project by another North East family firm, Parnaby Cyclones, as well as benefiting from the considerable academic expertise made available by Teesside University.”
The research being carried out by the university is part-funded by a Government grant and is part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, designed to help businesses innovate through academic support.
Dr Paul Sargent, lecturer in civil engineering at Teesside University, said: “A key strand of research at Teesside University is dedicated to addressing the challenge of the depletion or degradation of natural resources.
“This KTP has the potential to make a real impact on how we recycle our waste and help to create a more sustainable environment.”