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Sensor sorting helps MRFs to increase purity of recyclables

Tomra sensor sorter

Tomra Sorting Recycling has become the technology partner of choice for five new municipal solid waste (MSW) plants operated by leading UK waste management companies. Its sensor-based sorting technology will be used to divert material from landfill and maximise the recovery of valuable end fractions.

The contracts will see 23 Tomra Autosort units and one X-Tract X-ray transmission unit installed for the recovery of high-purity films, plastics, paper, inert material and create a fuel from non-recyclable residuals.

One of the company’s latest projects is FCC Environment’s 55 tonnes an hour mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant in Wrexham, north Wales, operated on behalf of Wrexham Council. Four Autosort units have been installed, with three recovering mixed films, mixed paper and card, mixed plastics from the larger fraction (80-300mm). A fourth unit will recover plastics from 20-80mm material after it has been processed through bio-drying tunnels.

FCC is now able to recover up to 65% of recyclables at a purity rate of between 80% and 98%, depending on the recyclables.

Steve Almond, sales engineer at Tomra Sorting UK, said: “Market demand for some of these materials is already strong, and as the circular economy infrastructure becomes more deeply embedded, demand for recycled materials is likely to continue to rise. Our customers are certainly embracing the benefits that sensor-based sorting technology offers when used in MSW plants.”

Tomra’s technology has also been chosen by a number of other waste management companies throughout the UK, including a 90 tonnes an hour MSW plant in the south of England, where five Autosort units are now in place, enabling the recovery of 90% of the infeed material for further processing along with refuse-derived fuel. Also in the south, five Autosort units will be installed to recover PET, PE, mixed plastics and paper at a 30 tonnes an hour MSW plant.

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