Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Waste Recycling from a Single Stream

Sometimes when you are close to an industry you do not see what others see. The commonplace seems ordinary, regular and well, very familiar.

One of my first encounters with a mechanised single stream waste system was about ten years ago, and that system was quite effective, although the operators were sure improvement was possible. But it was very reliably sorting and separating some of the major waste streams, even then, with paper and cardboard, ferrous metals, aluminium, and plastics as standout items easily separated. Although some plastics required hand separation to separate the different classes, if that was a need......and that has not changed.

Although single stream recycling has been around for quite a while, a recent encounter of such a system by a journalist offers a very different insight.............one that the general public probably does not even know, or maybe even care, about. Seen by a journalist's eyes - read about it here, and see the pictures:

The marvels of electro-mechanical engineering and process control come together to create a series of belts, magnets, colour sorters and air blast separators, swirling discs and a whole lot more, to effectively separate recycling material, from a single stream. Sure, it is NOT totally infallible and there are some materials still requiring hand sorting, but that is relatively modest.

Most systems using a feed source from a single stream are highly manual.......lots of individuals hand sorting the waste stream. Not so with this system.

While in low labour cost countries this will not displace labour, it is an option worth considering when volumes increase, and recycling can be profitable.

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