Waste Transfer Stations – A Beginner’s Guide to Waste Transfer Stations

Waste Transfer Stations are a vital step on the journey of waste management.

In this guide to Waste Transfer Stations, we explain what they are, processes that take place there, the benefits they provide, and how they are different to Material Recovery Facilities (MRF).

What is A Waste Transfer Station?

A Waste Transfer Station is where waste from various sources is consolidated before being further transported to an end point of disposal, usually landfill or waste-to-energy facilities. The Waste Transfer Station acts as a collection point for waste streams, where collection vehicles and containers are emptied, the waste screened, then loaded into larger transport vehicles for long-haul transport.

It’s important to have Waste Transfer Stations acting as midway points for waste management in regard to economic value and environmental factors, for example in reducing the length and frequency at which individual collection vehicles have to drive to get to the end point of disposal. The main benefits of Waste Transfer Stations will be outlined below.

Waste Transfer Stations can vary, however they usually consist of large plots of land to accommodate the space requirements of scale facilities, tipping areas, and large commercial vehicles. Equipment used includes loaders, conveyors, walking floors, cranes, and compactors – all aiding in the screening of waste and effective process of moving waste from unloading to reloading. Staff at a Waste Transfer Station can either have customer responsibilities, such as customer services, or more waste-related roles, such as scale operator, equipment operator, and maintenance staff.

What Happens at A Waste Transfer Station?

Overall, solid waste is brought to a Waste Transfer Station for initial processing before being taken to its final destination. This process is generally done commercially however most Waste Transfer Stations also accept tipping or external inbound waste.

The general process of waste at a Waste Transfer Station is as follows:

  • Arrive and Weigh – Inbound waste collection vehicles will first go to the scale where its waste load is weighed. This leads waste data reporting and is recorded on compulsory Waste Transfer Notes.
  • Tip and Process – Waste is unloaded from vehicles and then screened. During the screening process, certain materials may be removed, such as hazardous waste. Further sorting processes may involve separating waste according to recyclability, size or properties.
  • Reload – Sorted waste is then reloaded onto larger transport vehicles than it arrived in. Waste may be compacted for more efficient use of space.
  • Transport – Waste is transported on from the Waste Transfer Station to its final destination, commonly waste-to-energy facilities (favourable as value is extracted form waste in the form of energy) or landfill.

See more: What are the Negative Effects of Landfill?

At SL Recycling we have trusted partners who offer alternative solutions to general waste disposal than landfill, with more positive environment impact. Once waste leaves our Waste Transfer Station, it is transported to one of our partners for processing through mechanical heat treatment, biological treatment, energy from waste, or refuse derived fuel.

Find out more about our general waste services.

Can You Tip Waste at a Waste Transfer Station?

Most commercial Waste Transfer Stations let small businesses tip at their facilities, however they don’t always allow public domestic waste. Before taking waste to a site, it is worthwhile to check their website or get in touch first.

We welcome small businesses and the general public to tip at our Waste Transfer Station in Ystrad Mynach. We offer quick turnaround, market leading prices and instant payment via cash, card, or bank transfer. Tip with SL Recycling.

Waste Transfer Station Vs Material Recovery Facility

Oftentimes the two terms are used interchangeably, however there are difference between Waste Transfer Stations and MRFs.

Waste Transfer Stations are typically where multiple collection vehicles can bring/consolidate solid waste to then be transported on to landfill or facilities in larger transport vehicles. This results in more economical hauling of waste.

Whereas MRFs go the extra step to separate waste streams to then pass on for processing, commonly for recyclable waste streams. Ideally, waste arrives at MRFs already separated into waste type. Find out more about waste sorting at MRFs.

Overall, both sites have similar layouts, equipment and staff, just one separate waste more (MRFs), suited to recycling. However, as stated above, both terms are often used interchangeably, meaning separation happens at Waste Transfers Station too.

What Are The Benefits of Waste Transfer Stations?

Reduced Road Travel

Smaller local waste vehicles travel less to get to Waste Transfer Stations than they would if they did long haul to the final destination, reducing road wear and air pollution. Also, this works out economically beneficial, as waste haulage may be costed according to tonne per mile, so its desirable to use larger transport vehicles for long hauling from Waste Transport Stations.

Public Convenience

Having local waste facilities means the general public have a convenient place to take their rubbish and recyclable materials. This encourages the separation of waste instead of heading straight to landfill.

Maximise Recycling

By unloading waste at a Waste Transfer Station and sorting streams, recyclable materials are more likely to be removed and appropriately managed. The stations intercepts ‘all’ waste from going to landfill.

Increased Safety

When screening waste, unsafe, inappropriate, and hazardous waste is removed. This reduces risk for operatives at all stages of the waste journey.

Efficiency at End Site

Once waste has been initially unloaded and screened (with hazardous waste removed) at a Waste Transfer Station, the process of handling the waste at the final site is streamlined and less hindered by unexpected waste streams, for example.

Waste Transfer Station South Wales

SL Recycling have two waste processing facilities in South Wales; a Waste Transfer Station at Ystrad Mynach and an MRF in Pontypool. From these sites, we service the waste management, recycling and scrap metal requirements of local small businesses and national brands alike. Offering marketing leading prices, unbeatable industry expertise and a breadth of waste and recycling services, we implement proven techniques, create trusted partnerships and invest in effective systems to maximise our recycling output and positive effect on the environment – currently diverting over 93% of the waste we handle from landfill!

Get in touch to find out how we can help you with your waste and recycling needs.

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