partnership : In depth: Tidy Planet Tidies Up Food Waste & Recyclables at Indonesian Oil Facility

B2500 Rocket Composter tidy planet waste recycling
© Tidy Planet

Organic waste and waste-to-energy technology specialist Tidy Planet has partnered with shredding specialist UNTHA UK, to supply an industrial-scale solution for a new multi-million-pound Integrated Waste Management Facility at a gas pipeline expansion project in Indonesia.

When you think of the waste disposal challenges faced at major oil and gas facilities, chances are you’re probably not thinking food waste and recyclables, but these are often massive, isolated facilities with a large workforce generating a lot of waste – and that’s a challenge that Tidy Planet has experience in. It’s no surprise then that when one of the major global oil companies wanted to develop an Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) to manage the more mundane wastes at a gas pipeline expansion project in Indonesia – food waste from the staff canteen, broken pallets, cartons, cans, packaging, that kind of thing – it turned to the Macclesfield-headquartered company.

“We’re basically supplying two large-scale composters, a dewatering system, wood shredding, plastic shredding, aluminium can shredding compacting equipment – all their recycling needs,” explains Tidy Planet's director, James Tyler. “It’s a very large site, several thousand people work there, and they produce waste. We’ve worked with them in all sorts of locations on a number of projects. They tend to be in some pretty unusual locations, but they implement UK best practice technologies to waste at their sites.”

Input from UNTHA

This latest venture requires numerous processes to treat the client’s plastic, metal and wood wastes, as well as five additional tonnes of food waste generated per day at the site. Specialising in the composting side of the technology itself, the company turned to shredder manufacturer UNTHA to meet the project’s varied shredding requirements with an LR1000 wood shredder and an RS30 four-shaft plastic shredder.

“We evaluated the material requirements and throughputs and the LR1000 and RS30 machines were the obvious choices,” explains UNTHA UK director, Gary Moore. “The IWMF will be providing the shredded wood needed for the composting process and as it results from a mix of hardwood logs, building timbers and broken pallets, we needed a versatile piece of equipment.

“With both the shredding and composting technologies in operation, this will help the oil firm fulfill its objective of achieving complete, closed-loop resource recovery at its Indonesia site – offering greater bottom-line benefit and autonomy over its waste management,” he adds.

Explaining the rationale behind the company’s decision to go with UNTHA shredding technology, Tyler explains that there are two sides to Tidy Planet’s business, composting and waste-to-energy.

“We’ve used UNTHA shredders on a number of our waste-to-energy projects,” he tells WMW. “It’s good quality equipment and it’s competitively priced so we enjoy working with those guys.”

The Rocket Composter

The first seeds of Tidy Planet were sown in the early 1990’s when keen gardener and inventor John Webb wanted to speed up the composting process on his smallholding. He developed a machine that could treat his garden waste and horse manure and turn it into highly nutritious compost in just 14 days. Over the following years Webb continued to develop his product, working with Defra to ensure it was fully compliant with the Animal By-Products Regulations.

Initially dubbed Webb’s Rocket, since those early days the company has had considerable international success in Africa, US, Kuwait, Canada, Georgia, Hong Kong, Greece, Italy, and now Indonesia.

The latest success follows a year-long tendering process which saw Tidy Planet beat off stiff competition and the company was recently awarded the contract.

Processing of the large volume of food wastes will be achieved with a commercial-scale version of Tidy Planet’s Dehydra Dewatering system and two B2500s – the largest Rocket Composter the company manufactures. Able to process some 3.5 tonnes of food waste per day, each B2500 is has a capacity 25 times higher than Tidy Planet’s most popular model – the A900 – and is 45 time bigger heavier in its construction.

“It’s an in-vessel aerobic composter,” says Tyler. “It’s remote connected to the UK and computer controlled. It’s a twin shaft, twin hold hull insulated in-vessel composter that processes material over a 10 to 14-day period. It’s a continuous automatic process. The input material is dewatered and loaded onto a sorting table to remove any contaminants before it’s loaded into a hopper and it feeds itself. The compost that comes out can be used for land-remediation or crop growth. They’re also recycling chipped pallets in the composter.”

The machine also gives the site the ability to cope with +30% fluctuations in waste.

Huw Crampton, Tidy Planet’s sales manager, also notes that the company also called on expertise from across the UK, with conveyors being manufactured in Bristol, biofilters in Somerset, and heavy-vessel fabrication taking place in West South Yorkshire. Other UK organisations are also involved in the waste management overhaul, supplying can baling systems, control packages, and packing/crating services.

Not only will the equipment help the IWMF deal with the vast volume of food waste it currently produces, it will create jobs for local people too. This includes pickers – who will ensure clean compost output by checking input materials are free of contaminants such as plastic – machinery operatives who will look after the segregation and processing of tonnes of plastics, metals and woods, plus a dedicated maintenance team.

For projects like these, Tyler sees it as a winning combination, and is confident that many more in far flung places will make their way down the pipeline and into Tidy Planet’s order book.