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A sharp eye divides PET trays and bottles

Tomra Sorting Recycling has introduced a technology called Sharp Eye, which makes it possible to separate single-layer PET trays from PET bottles. This enhances the previous capability of Tomra’s Autosort machine to separate multi-layer trays.

The breakthrough is commercially significant because small but critical differences in the chemical properties of PET food trays and bottles mean that they have to be separated for equivalent-product recycling.

The Sharp Eye technology introduces a bigger lens for higher light intensity, so it is possible to detect even the most indistinguishable properties.

The seamless, flexible process to separate single-layer PET trays and bottles begins with the sorting of mixed plastics into different polymers and packaging material collected or pre-sorted from municipal solid waste.

Tomra’s Autosort equipment then separates the mixed PET into different polymers, detecting material and colour in combination with grain size. This process achieves a sorting efficiency of 95% or greater, even with highly mixed input.

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