Page 34 - HUB-4 Magazine Issue 71
P. 34

Optimising sorting plants to maximize
the benefits of Deposit Return Schemes
Deposit Return Schemes are gaining increasing attention as a means to improve collection and recycling rates for drinks packaging. STADLER has the expertise to help recycling facilities increase the quality and purity of the output from materials collected through these schemes, contributing to a circular economy. Dr. Benjamin Eule, Director of STADLER UK, explains how.
 As the pressure to drive a shift towards a circular economy increases, the need to address the issue of drinks packaging waste is gaining urgency.
“In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has set high recycling targets for the country in its Resources and Waste Strategy. The waste management industry will need to improve the volume of materials collected and the quality of the output so it can re-enter the production cycle and close the loop of a circular economy,” states Dr. Benjamin Eule, Director of STADLER UK.
According to Defra, “UK consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, 9 billion drinks cans and 5 billion glass bottles a year and, although plastic bottles are fully recyclable, recent packaging recycling rates demonstrate that there are significant improvements to be made in drinks container recycling.”
In its Resources and Waste Strategy published in 2018, the government set ambitious objectives aimed at driving a shift to a circular economy. They include a target for England to collect 77% of single-use plastic bottles placed on the market by weight by 2025, and 90% by 2029. To support this effort, it is planning the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in the United Kingdom to increase the recycling rate of drinks containers and reduce littering. It is currently evaluating the results of consultations about the timing – expected to be between 2022 and 2024 – and method for its roll out.
Effective sorting systems are critical for Deposit Return Schemes to fulfil their potential
For the DRS to fulfil its potential in addressing the drinks packaging waste issue and contributing effectively to a circular economy, it needs to be complemented by efficient
sorting processes. This is key to achieving high-quality end- products that can compete with virgin materials on the market.
STADLER can make all the difference in how successfully DRS materials return into the production cycle. “We understand the material mix which will have to be processed and the challenges this presents,” explains Dr. Eule. “The main issue in sorting drinks packaging is to avoid cross contamination to achieve the high purity rates required for recycling. What this entails depends on how the DRS materials are
collected. If they come from reverse vending machines, there will be little contamination and it will be mostly about achieving the best quality of the output. If that isn’t the case, the DRS material will have to be segregated from other recyclables or material flows, and some pre-treatment for cleaning will be required.”
STADLER also has extensive knowledge of the process technology: “we have the flexibility to design the sorting plant that will deliver the quality and purity of the DRS mix ready for the direct return into product as part of the circular economy. We can design and install mechanical pre-treatment and material enrichment for PET and metal drinks containers.
   | p34 | Nov-Dec 21 - Issue 71

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