3 Facts About Plastic Packaging Waste

Latest 2016 Waste Recycling DEFRA Data

The UK’s largest recycling exhibition, RWM, takes place on the 12th and 13th September 2018 (NEC, Birmingham, UK).  Leading up to the show, we wanted to review three key facts relating to the latest DEFRA data (from 2016) on plastic packaging waste (published in February 2018).

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The Amount of Plastic Packaging Waste

UK households generated 1,015,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2016.  This is actually 12% lower than in 2012, although the amount has been relatively stagnant since 2103.  In 2016, 20% of all packaging waste was plastic (by weight), although this percentage would be far higher if measured by volume due to the low bulk density of the material.

A Rising Recycling Rate

45% of plastic packaging was recycled or recovered in 2016 compared with 25% in 2012.  The 2016 figure is higher than the EU target of 22.5%.  Since the beginning of 2018, the UK Government has set a new recycling and recoverable target of 57% by 2020.  This means that new strategies are needed to raise the rate by 12% in just four years.

Plastic Packaging Recycling Rates

However, there remains a question about what to do with the plastic once it has been recovered.  The UK still exports a large proportion of its waste, but this is still classed as being ‘recovered’ and is included in the 45%.  Since China closed their doors to waste, plastic waste has being shipped to countries around the world, including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.  This is not a sustainable solution, but it not reported in the statistics.  An increasing amount of plastic waste is expected to remain in the UK and it is unclear how it will be managed.

Plastics Recycling Plants

It is widely accepted that there are not enough plastic recycling plants in the UK.  In the past, it has been difficult to economically operate a plant with high costs associated with equipment investment and site difficulties due to the flammable nature of plastic waste.

Bunting Magnetics Drawer Magnets at Ecovyn
FF Drawer Filter Magnets (supplied by Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd) removing metal from plastic waste to enable recycling

One successful plant is located near Wrexham in North Wales where EcoVyn process 1,000 tonnes per month of good quality plastic waste.  EcoVyn installed several Drawer Filter Magnets to remove ferrous metal contamination from the granulated plastic.

The Future

There has been a huge change in the public perception of plastic waste since the showing of the BBC series Blue Planet II in 2017.  This has forced politicians to start taking action and it will be interesting to see the level of political and governmental engagement at the RWM exhibition.

For further information on metal separation equipment designed for removing metal from plastic waste and in other recycling applications, please visit our website or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website

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Metal Detectors Detecting More Than Treasure

Technology Keeping Waste Metal-Free

The BBC television series Detectorists has significantly increased the public’s awareness of metal detectors, but many people remain unaware of their importance in the recycling of waste materials.

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Although the size and design of metal detector used in the recycling industry may be different to those used by the enthusiasts on the television show, the basic concept is the same.  When an electric current is passed through the coil of a metal detector, it creates a magnetic field.  If a piece of electrically conductive metal is close to the coil, eddy currents will be induced in the metal, and this produces a magnetic field of its own.  A separate control recognises that the new magnetic field has changed the metal detector’s magnetic field and identifies that there is metal present.

Metal Detectors are becoming increasingly important in the recycling industry.  Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators are widely used to remove liberated ferrous, non-ferrous and even some stainless-steel metals, but are unable to separate metals that are imbedded in material or are unresponsive to these types of metal separators.

This is particularly important in recycling operations where the waste material is large in size and needs to be shredded or granulated.  A common location for the Metal Detector is on the conveyor prior to size reduction, where it identifies the presence of any metal that may damage the shredder or granulator.  The effect of metal damage can be costly in terms of repair and also downtime.  Typical waste materials include plastic, wood, and demolition waste.

There are primarily two different types of Metal Detector suitable for detecting metal in such conveyed material.  The Underbelt Conveyor Metal Detector is ideal when handling larger materials of variable shapes and sizes and the aim is to detect larger metal.  Two different coil designs mean that the Metal Detector is suitable for belt widths from 100mm to 1200mm.  This design of Metal Detector identifies and then stops the conveyor belt.  Operators then locate and manually remove the metal contamination.

The second type of Metal Detector surrounds the conveyor belt.  This increases the detection sensitivity and is also needed when there is a deeper burden depth on the conveyor.  There are various coil configurations, such as the QDC, QTA, and TN77, and the selection is based upon each application.

Once the waste has passed through the process of size reduction and separation, Metal Detectors are commonly used to check that metal is not present in the final product.  In some applications, the material will still be conveyed and so previously mentioned designs are used.  However, in applications where the particles are now significantly smaller different designs of Metal Detector are required.

Bunting Metal Separation System Recapture Plastics-0424In plastic recycling plants, Free Fall Metal Detectors such as the quickTRON 03R not only detect but also reject metal contamination.   Gravity free-fall style metal separators are specifically designed to isolate and separate any contaminated material moving in the product flow.  They automatically detect, pick up and reject both ferrous and non-ferrous from the product flow without any interruption to the line process.

As each application can be unique, selecting the optimum Metal Detector for an application is best achieved by conducting a site visit to understand the process and the objective.

Bunting Magnetics is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors which includes the Master Magnets and Metal Detection branded range of equipment.

For further information on metal separation equipment designed for detecting and removing metal from plastic waste and in other recycling applications, please visit our website or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website

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Metal Contaminated Sugar Alert

Latest Metal Contamination Food Safety Alert

On the 28th July 2018, the UK Food Standards Agency released a food alert announcing ‘Tereos UK recalls Granulated Sugar due to the presence of small metal pieces‘.  This is the third report of metal being found in food reaching the consumer in 2018 after six metal contamination alerts in 2017.

Metal In Sugar

Metal enters the food manufacturing process via many different avenues.  Metal can be present in ingredients being delivered to a food processing plant and unless removed at source can enter the process and cause significant damage.  Equipment failure and wear can also lead to metal contamination and is usually removed with the right combination of magnetic separators and metal detectors.

The source of the metal contamination in the granulated sugar is presently unknown and an investigation is most likely underway.  The sugar is sold in the UK by the retailers Iceland, Poundland, and Sainsbury’s and has been recalled.  The metal contamination will be costly in terms of direct financial cost and reputation.

Getting Metal Out of Sugar

Removing metal contamination from granulated sugar is commonly achieved using Drawer Filter Magnets and Plate Magnets.  Plate Magnets are installed in chutes where the sugar flows over the surface.  Due to the small size of the sugar granules Neodymium Rare Earth Plate Magnets are preferable, producing the highest magnetic attractive force to remove small ferrous and magnetically-susceptible work-hardened stainless steel.

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Due to the potential sticky nature of the sugar, sleeved Drawer Filter Magnets are often preferred, in an easy-clean design.  The Rare Earth Tube Magnet sits tightly inside a fixed stainless steel outer tube.  Cleaning forms part of a daily maintenance schedule, with the Tube Magnets being withdrawn from the sleeves to drag and deposit metal contamination in a discharge chute.

Magnetic Separation Audits

Bunting engineers conduct regular Magnetic Separation Audits at many food manufacturing plants.  An audit involves the visual and physical inspection of every magnetic separator in a plant to check on the location, suitability integrity (ie checking welds and for wear), and magnetic strength (which can deteriorate with excessive heat, weld damage, or if dropped).  In April three Magnetic Audits were conducted and highlighted a number of issues that have since been addressed.

For more information on preventing Metal Contamination Food Safety Scares, or to arrange a free onsite survey and audit of a particular plant or process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Phone:  +44 (0) 1442 875081

Email:  sales@buntingeurope.com

Via the website

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RWM Becomes Metal Separation Test Centre

Interactive Stand 5Q11 at RWM

Visitor interaction is the theme of the Bunting stand at this year’s RWM (12-13 September, 2018, NEC, Birmingham, UK).  With their stand (5Q11) in prime-position opposite the entrance to the show, Bunting will invite visitors to take a lump of non-ferrous metal or stainless steel, place it on the belt of the metal separator, and witness separation.

Bunting Magnetics Europe at RWM16
The separation of stainless steel on a magnetic separator

“We wanted to do something different this year,” explained Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  “Visitor interaction is so important and we want people to handle the metal and then see what happens when they place it on the belt of the metal separation system.”

Operating on the stand at RWM will be a production-sized Eddy Current Separator and Stainless Steel Magnetic Separator, and demonstration-sized model of the popular Permanent Overband Magnet.

On the Stainless Steel Magnetic Separator, visitors will be able to separate several different materials.  These include large lumps of fragmented stainless steel, from secondary metal recycling plants, and printed circuit boards (PCBs) from electronic recycling operations.

The Stainless Steel Magnetic Separator uses a patented high strength magnetic roll that generates enough attractive power to separate even the weakest magnetic materials.  When passing through a shredder, the edges of stainless steel become weakly magnetic and this enables the effective separation.  Also, PCBs have small components that are weakly magnetic and these are attracted by the strong magnetic field and separated from non-magnetic materials.

Dave Hills will be speaking about the Stainless Steel Magnetic Separator in the Alternative Fuels Theatre on Wednesday 12th (12:30-13:00) and Thursday 13th (11:45-12:15).

Eddy Current Separators are a common feature at the RWM exhibition.  The Master Magnets design focuses on maximising non-ferrous metal separation whilst maintaining product purity levels.  The ability to produce the optimum separation of non-ferrous metals is dictated by the design of the high speed rotating magnetic rotor and visitors will be able to place non-ferrous metals on the separator and witness the dramatic and violent separation.

Bunting Master Magnets at RWM17
Non ferrous metals being separated on the Eddy Current Separator

As the Permanent Overband Magnet is one of the most commonly used magnetic separators in the recycling and waste industry, it was important to have a model on show.  Hundreds of Permanent Overband Magnets are built at the Redditch manufacturing facility each year and they can be seen on many pre-sorted refuse operations recovering steel cans and mobile plant such as crushers and screens.

“Participating in a demonstration is different to simply watching,” explained Hills.  “Visitors to the stand can choose the item they want to separate and then see what happens on the metal separator.”

For further information metal separation equipment designed for removing metal from plastic waste and in other recycling applications, please visit our website or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website

Photographs taken by Paul Fears Photography

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