Suez Environnement, the owner of Sita UK, and minerals supplier Sibelco claim their new glass plant in Belgium is the first in the world to separate incoming flows into four grades.
The two companies have officially opened their High5 sorting and recovery centre in Antwerp, Belgium which uses the “latest generation optical sorters” to process the glass flow into four different colours: white, green, amber and russet.
The optical sensors identify the colour of each piece of glass before a burst of compressed air directs it to the correct flow, which is sorted by colour.
Before the glass gets to this stage, it has already gone through the more traditional methods of hand sorting and air-scouring and suction to remove ferrous and non-ferrous metal from within the glass. High5 has the capacity to recycle 250,000 tonnes a year and is operating at a rate of 50 tonnes an hour.
Christope Cros, Suez Environnement’s deputy chief executive in charge of waste said: “This sorting centre is an example of one of the many challenges or the circular economy: the recovery of waste and the production of secondary raw materials.”