Transfer Stations – Are They Dead, or are they Alive and Living Under a New Name? Yes! Read on to find our where!
Waste Transfer Stations are in reality just conveniently situated depots where refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) discharge their loads to avoid collection vehicles travelling uneconomic and unnecessary distances to distant landfills.
The waste is picked up again and compacted into larger vehicles which may carry up to double the tonnage carried in each street collection truck.
This reduces vehicle mileage and traffic congestion, as well as avoiding collection operatives riding unproductively in the cab while their vehicle travels long distances to landfill. The transfer station gets them back on to the collection round faster.
When Transfer Stations incorporate sophisticated methods of treatment or handling such as sorting for recycling, pulverisation, resource recovery, incineration, composting etc, and are built to high standards of construction, the waste transfer function is less important.
So, they are now called MRFs (Materials Recovery Facilities), or in a slightly different form where the co-mingled and sometimes residual waste is also pre-treated before it leaves for the landfill, they are called MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) Plants. These new names much more readily describe the primary function of these facilities to re-use and recycle waste, and pre-treat those waste streams that cannot be re-used or recycled so that their impact in a landfill is reduced.
Refuse (Waste) Transfer Stations, as they were originally called, are so simple that the name is not an adequate term for what takes place at the modern facilities of today.
So, it would seem that in the UK and many other developed nations, few if any will be built in the future.
The name is dying, but the transfer station function will be present, and will be accomplished as a small part of the function of MRFs, MBT Plants and other waste technology plants.