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Norway’s Tomra Systems ASA’s Tomra Recycling business unit says a system it supplied to a Norwegian sorting plant has demonstrated that sorting mixed waste before disposal can be “a superior solution to separate collection “.

According to Tomra, since the Norway district served by the plant stopped separate plastic collection in its area and rolled out a mixed waste sorting system, the facility has increased material recovery rates by 28% to 82 % and achieved a recycling rate of 56.4%. , “thereby meeting the EU’s recycling targets for 2025 in advance”.

Tomra says IVAR District “now ranks number one in treating MSW [municipal solid waste] By volume.”

Located in Forus, in southwestern Norway, IVAR manages the collection of all residues and waste from 10 municipalities with approximately 325,000 inhabitants. With its MSW sorting plant, IVAR now recovers large volumes of recyclable materials before incineration, “reducing CO2 emissions and the global reliance on virgin materials by providing high-quality recycled content for new products and packaging,” says technology provider Tomra.

As local and international recycling targets became increasingly stringent, IVAR recognized the need to improve its waste management and recycling methods. The company sought advice from Tomra to identify opportunities for sorting mixed waste. The factory sent samples of MSW from the region to Tomra’s test facility in Germany.

There, the analysis showed that while paper recovery from its MSW streams performed reasonably well, plastics recovery offered room for improvement. Analysis of the tests revealed that household waste contained large volumes of recyclable plastics, even though it was supposed to be collected separately.

Based on this analysis, Tomra recommended the construction of a new fully automated mixed waste sorting plant including new facilities for plastics reprocessing and paper sorting, as well as the elimination of separate plastics collection. In the region.

Previously collected separately, plastics are now also deposited in the gray bin of the selective collection system and collected in the new facility. As a result, only the residues from the factory are transported to a waste-to-energy plant, Tomra explains.

In late 2014, the plant construction project began with Sutco Recycling Technik, based in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, selected as the supplier for IVAR’s combined residual waste and paper sorting plant. Sutco, in turn, chose Tomra Recycling as a project partner for the sorting equipment. Since the commissioning of the new facility in January 2019, 22 of the Automatic sorting sorting units now sort plastics (PET, PS, LDPE, HDPE, PP) and paper (mixed paper, cardboard, beverage cartons) from what is collected in the region’s gray bins. In addition, metals (aluminum, steel) are recovered.

In the system, collected material larger than 350 millimeters or mm (13.75 inches) is sorted by a finger screen and shredded into smaller pieces before two drum screens separate the material into three target sizes: less than 60 mm (less than 2.35 inches); 60 to 150 mm (2.35 to 5.9 in); and 150 to 320 mm (5.9 to 12.6 in).

In the next step, Tomra’s Autosort machines recover 90% of medium (2.35 to 5.9 inches) and large (5.9 to 12.6 inches) plastic fractions before extracting the mixed paper. Finally, magnets and eddy currents remove both non-ferrous and ferrous metals, Tomra says.

Once the plastics are pre-sorted, they are then sorted by type of material. First, ballistic separators separate plastic films and rigid plastics. Then 14 Autosort machines undertake the separation of rigid plastics into PP, HDPE, PS, PET and create a clean fraction of LDPE plastic film.

To further increase purity levels, the clean material fractions undergo a second sorting step, also performed by Autosort machines, to remove remaining contaminants. PS and PET, considered as high quality final fractions, are baled and sent to different mechanical recycling plants in Europe. LDPE, HDPE and PP are washed, dried and granulated in the IVAR Forus factory and sold as granules.

The mixed paper fraction, as well as the mixed paper and cardboard feed from separate collection, is processed in a separate sorting line. Of the more than 23,000 metric tons of paper sorted per shift, 95.7% of feed materials are converted into four salable paper products, including de-inking grade, OCC, Tetra Pak and other paperboards .

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to consult IVAR in the planning of a new plant, to supply our latest sensor-based sorting equipment and to support such an exciting and groundbreaking project,” says Oliver Lambertz, a Tomra Recycling vice-president. According to him, the following objectives have been achieved: sorting almost all PE, PP, PS or PET plastics suitable for (mechanical) recycling; sort 95% of the identified fractions; and achieve purity levels of 95-98%.

Comments Rudolf Meissner, supervisor at IVAR: “Tomra’s sorters and advice convinced us from the start. As we have experienced first-hand, they are an essential tool for automated waste sorting, operating at high throughput and generating high levels of yield and purity – the goal that all sorting plants and the reason these machines definitely belong in any modern sorting and recycling facility. Combined with their reliable service, we could turn our waste sorting process into a profitable and competitive business. »