Gleisdorf, Austria-based Redwave has supplied automated sorting equipment to a plastics recycling plant operated by recycling firm Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG. The plant in Graz, Austria, has undergone €10 million ($11.7 million) in expansion projects in the last several years.
Saubermacher estimate the Graz facility is now the largest plastic sorting plant in Austria. Saubermacher sorts the material on behalf of Vienna-based collection and hauling firm Altstoff Recycling Austria (ARA). Most of the discarded packaging comes from households and businesses.
Aluminum cans and beverage cartons are now being separated at the facility, in addition to 14 different plastic fractions. The automatic plastic sorting plant processes around 32,000 metric tons of discarded packaging per year, mainly from Graz and surrounding areas. A residue fraction of about 40 percent is used as a substitute fuel in the cement industry.
“This investment means we can increase the proportion of material recycling to 40 percent and thus come one step closer to our vision of zero waste,” says Gerhard Ziehenberger, chief operating officer of Saubermacher AG.
Silvia Schweiger-Fuchs, managing director at Redwave, comments, “Zero waste is a very important endeavor to keep our environment worth living in for our children in the future. We will continue to strive to extend our leading technological position in recycling technology.”
At the plant, the Redwave sorting machines, deploying sensor-based sorting using near-infrared (NIR) and color detection technology, separate the plastic packaging by grade. “Banning plastic does not help,” says Hans Roth, chairman of the supervisory board at Saubermacher. “We must continue to improve recycling and accelerate the use of recycled materials in production processes.”
Changes in the contents of a yellow bag collection system made the investment in the sorting system necessary, according to the two companies. A new bag ripper to open the yellow bags works in conjunction with a new film separator to address separation of the film fraction from the 3D container fraction.
A Redwave sorter has been installed at the end of the sorting line to separate the aseptic packaging from aluminum cans. An additional Redwave NIR sorting machine separates PET (polyethylene terephthalate) from other plastics.
A “bottle flattener” is situated near 2D/3D separators. This Redwave device creates flattened and partially emptied PET bottles in an attempt to ensure better sorting results and quality.