TOMRA provides future-proof solution for Mid UK Recycling Barkston MRF

Innovative sensor-based sorting solutions from TOMRA Recycling have been installed at Mid UK Recycling’s new £15m state-of-the-art Lincolnshire-based material recycling facility (MRF) which became operational in June 2021.
Mid UK’s multi-million-pound Barkston MRF, near Grantham, processes 30 tonnes per hour (tph) of dry mixed recyclables from domestic and commercial recycling collections. As part of the MRF’s development, 14 of the latest generation TOMRA AUTOSORT® units have been installed across two lines to enhance the sorting process, boosting throughput and elevating purity levels of the targeted end fractions.

TOMRA’s new equipment at the Barkston MRF focuses on sorting a variety of fractions, including paper, film, magazines and a range of plastics, including high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Mid UK Recycling was already familiar with the capabilities of TOMRA’s AUTOSORT® technology as previous versions of the units were installed in Mid UK’s original MRF at the site.

barkston mrf plant
TOMRA’s AUTOSORT® units can be easily programmed to separate different comingled recycling streams into specific materials ready to be sent on for further reprocessing or to end customers in both regional and international markets. At the new Barkston MRF, the technology is used in a two-step process to maximise the purity and market value of the recycled fractions and deal with challenges of sorting and extracting maximum value from mixed plastics. 

Firstly, the general infeed material – including paper, film and magazines – is sorted through the dry mixed recycling (DMR) MRF and separated into different material streams using seven AUTOSORT® units. As part of this process, mixed plastic polymers are ejected from plant’s two DMR lines before being transported to Mid UK’s onsite plastics recycling facility (PRF) where they are further sorted by polymer and colour using the remaining seven AUTOSORT® units.


Making this possible is TOMRA’s AUTOSORT® sophisticated infrared sorting technology which combines near infrared (NIR) and visual spectrometers (VIS). This combination accurately and quickly identifies and separates different materials according to their material type and colour, extracting high-purity high-value end fractions that command higher market prices. In total, the 14 new AUTOSORT® machines at the Barkston MRF can process an impressive 30 tonnes per hour (tph) of dry recycling from homes and businesses in the local area.

Chris Mountain, Director at Mid UK Recycling, comments: “We have invested heavily in our new Barkston facility to ensure that we take full advantage of the latest in technology advances and standards to build a state-of-the-art facility that we are all proud of. Specifying the latest TOMRA AUTOSORT® units is a key part of this investment, and we have every confidence that the technology will add value to our recycling processes for many years to come.”

Gavin Russell, Area Sales Manager UK at TOMRA Recycling, adds: “Mid UK has been a long-term friend and partner of TOMRA, and we are thrilled that we were chosen to install our sorting technology within the new MRF. These 14 new AUTOSORT® units will not only boost material recovery rates and increase the plant’s capacity but will also deliver a future-proofed solution which is capable of adapting to any future changes in infeed material.”