Plastics and the Environment

The Necessity of a Global Strategy for Plastics Waste

Since 1950, it is estimated that 8.3 million metric tonnes of virgin plastics have been produced.  Of this, 6.3 million metric tonnes has become waste, with 9% being recycled and 12% incinerated.  This leaves 79% that is accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.

The report written by Geyer, Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law is concerning with a prediction of 12 million metric tonnes of plastic being in landfill or the natural environment by 2050.

Hanbury Plastics Bunting Overband Magnet-7975In the UK, organisations such as The British Plastics Federation (BPF) identify sustainability as being key to the future growth of the plastics sector.  They report that the UK uses over 5 million tonnes of plastic each year of which an estimated 29% is currently being recovered or recycled.  The UK has a plastics recycling target of 57% by 2020 and the BPF and Plastics Europe with the support of WRAP are implementing the Plastics Industry Recycing Action Plan (PIRAP) to help meet this target.  However, increasing the amount of plastic being recovered or recycled by 28% in 3 years appears to be exceptionally challenging and maybe unreachable.

The application of plastics technology continues to grow, with the UK launching a new plastic £10 note in September 2017.  And this is because plastics technology produces such versatile and resilient products, properties that make it equally difficult to manage once it has been used and becomes waste.

Designing plastic products to enable easy reuse and recycling appears to be the key.  However, often the aesthetic appearance of a plastic packaging product takes precedence over the post-use waste functionality.


As an equipment supplier, we understand the difficulties of recycling plastics.  Even though we can remove the metal contamination with Magnetic Separators, Eddy Current Separators, and Metal Detectors, a substantial amount of further processing is required with colour and plastic type separation is often required.  We will be exhibiting at Interplas 2017 (NEC, Birmingam, UK 26th – 28th September), the UK’s premier show for the plastics sector, and it will be interesting to see and hear the ideas and thoughts of the industry.

Designers of plastic products, especially packaging, need to be creative and give reuse and recycling a higher priority during the concept phase.  With the prediction of an ever-increasing production of plastic, a workable environmental strategy has never been more important.

For further information on separating metal from plastics during the production of the virgin product or during the recycling process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Other articles on Plastics Recycling include:

Positive Vibes For Recycling at Waste 17

High Interest in Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators at Waste 17

Despite the rain and the General Election, Waste 17 proved to be a great success on 8th June 2017.  The Waste 17 exhibition was held at Manchester United’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’, their Old Trafford football ground, with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

“We were really excited [about Waste 17] as this was the first time that Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets had exhibited together since the announcement of the acquisition in January [2017],” said Bunting Managing Director, Simon Ayling.

Bunting and Master Magnets were headline sponsors of the only Northern-located recycling and waste exhibition, organised by the team at Skip Hire Magazine.  The exhibition was well attended by both exhibitors and visitors.  In the external area, there was a wide range of large mobile recycling plant, waste collection skips, and vehicles.  Companies in the indoor exhibition were providing both services and equipment to the waste and recycling sector.  There was also a seminar area.Waste_17-0634

The Bunting/Master Magnets stand was located directly in front of the main entrance doors and on display was an operating Eddy Current Separator, Permanent Overband Magnet, and Metal Detector.  On the Eddy Current Separator, small non-ferrous metal was being separated from shredded plastic.

“This year we wanted to show visitors our equipment,” explained Simon.  “Having a working Eddy Current Separator on the stand is always impressive and we were able demonstrate the separation capabilities.  There was a really positive reaction from the visitors’ and we are sure that undertaking demonstrations was an important factor in the high number of enquiries.”

The team were also able to demonstrate the depth of field of the Permanent Overband Magnet, used to separate ferrous metals from conveyed non-magnetic material as found in MRFs and Sorting Stations.Waste_17-0813

“The joining of Bunting and Master Magnets has been tremendously successful.  Being together at Waste 17 gave us a chance to meet and talk with existing and new customers and show that our ability to provide a complete metal separation solution has been enhanced.  We are now looking forward to our next joint exhibition, RWM17.”

For further details on the Bunting range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used to recover or remove metal to enable recycling, please contact our technical sales team on:

UK Recycling Landscape Post Election

The UK Environmental Strategy After the General Election on 8th June 2017

On Thursday (8th June 2017), the UK public will choose the party to lead the UK for the next 5 years.  On the same day, Skip Hire Magazine will be staging the Waste 17 exhibition at Old Trafford in Manchester and so what are the parties saying about recycling and the environment?

The Labour Party

Even though the UK will be leaving the EU, the Labour Party has pledged to protect environmental laws presently in place.  Many of the environmental regulations presently in place are derived from European legislation including the Waste Framework, Packaging and Landfill Directive.


The directive requires all EU member states to take the necessary measures to ensure waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health or causing harm to the environment and includes permitting, registration and inspection requirements.

The directive also requires member states to take appropriate measures to encourage firstly, the prevention or reduction of waste production and its harmfulness and secondly the recovery of waste by means of recycling, re-use or reclamation or any other process with a view to extracting secondary raw materials, or the use of waste as a source of energy.  The directive’s requirements are supplemented by other directives for specific waste streams.

The Conservative Party

The Conservative Party has announced a “comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling” plan to reduce litter.  This includes a focus on improving the design of packaging and the publishing of a long-awaited 25-year environment plan, which was due to be launched by DEFRA earlier this year.  Whereas Labour intend to continue with the existing EU legislation, the Conservatives are looking to adopt a more selective approach to “chart how we will improve our environment as we leave the EU”.Bunting Vulcanis-1095-2

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have set out a number of resource policy pledges.  They would reinstate the landfill tax escalator and review a tax on incineration.  A Cabinet Committee on Sustainability would be established to ensure that strategies were followed and targets are met.  They are the only party to openly publish targets, including a 70% recycling figure in England and the extension of food waste collections to at least 90% of homes.  They also plan to introduce a 5p charge on disposable coffee cups.

The Scottish National Party SNP

In Scotland, the SNP already have a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020.  This will be achieved by further developing renewable energy sources, a key pledge of their campaign.


As would be expected, UKIP would not adopt all EU legislation and instead “promote evidence-based environment schemes” in a new Environmental Protection Act.  This Act would review all EU environmental legislation with the aim of keeping those which have enhanced the UK environment.

There is no doubt that the party who are chosen to govern the UK for the next 5 years will face a number of environmental challenges.  Only time will tell if the rhetoric will be followed by action.

Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets are the headline sponsors of Waste 17 and will have working metal separation equipment on their stand at the show.

For further details on the Bunting range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used to recover or remove metal to enable recycling, please contact our technical sales team on:

Other Articles Related to Plastics Recycling


HFS Drawer Magnet Removes Metal from Recycled Plastics

French Plastics Recycling Operation Installs Bunting Drawer Magnet

The latest HS Drawer Magnet has just been boxed ready for despatch to a Plastics Recycling company in France.  The Magnetic Separator was manufactured in the Bunting Magnetics European manufacturing facility in Berkhamsted, UK.


The French Plastics Recycling operation will install the HS Drawer Magnet to capture and remove ferrous metal contamination from the reclaimed plastic.

HFS Drawer Magnets are commonly used in virgin and secondary plastic processing operations.  The Magnetic Separator is equipped with powerful Neodymium Rare Earth Tube Magnets which enable the capture of both very fine iron and also work-hardened Stainless Steel.

How the HFS Drawer Magnet Works

In operation, material falls under gravity into the opening of the HFS Drawer Magnet.  Inside the housing are two rows of Tube Magnets, staggered to ensure that all the product has to pass over the surface of a magnet.  The magnetically susceptible particles are attracted and held onto the surface of the Tube Magnet, whilst non-magnetic material passes through.

Bunting Grate Magnet

The HFS design of Drawer Magnet enables easy-cleaning of the Tube Magnets.  Unlike other designs of Easy-Clean Grate Magnet, the Tube Magnets are not positioned within an outer tube and are in direct contact with the product.  This ensures maximum magnetic particle capture.

When the Tube Magnets need to be cleaned (daily cleaning is a recommended minimum requirement), the extended Tube Magnets are manually pulled outside the housing using an external handle.  Any captured magnetic material is stopped from being pulled outside the housing by specially designed Grommets.  These Grommets are positioned in the side of the housing and fitted tightly around each Tube Magnet.  Each Tube Magnet has a non-magnetic tapered end which, on reaching the Grommet, allows the captured metal contamination to fall into a separate collection bin.  The Tube Magnets are then fully cleaned and ready to be re-introduced into the product stream.

Typical Features of the HFS Drawer Magnet

  • For Gravity Flow Applications in All Industries;
  • Configurable design to suit the flow of materials and separation required;
  • High duty construction, for long life;
  • Large range of sizes, magnet types and finishes available;
  • Easily fitted into existing systems, optional  top and bottom transitions available;

For further details on the Bunting range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used to remove metal from virgin and recycled plastic, please contact our technical sales team on:

Other Articles Related to Plastics Recycling



Bunting and Master Magnets Headline Sponsors of Waste 17

Metal Separation Technology Operating at Waste 17

Bunting Magnetics Europe and Master Magnets are the headline sponsors of this year’s Waste 17 recycling show being held at the Old Trafford Football Ground in Manchester on Thursday 8th June.  An operating Eddy Current Separator and Stainless Steel Separator will be separating metals on stand A40 and we welcome visitors to bring along a sample to test.

Bunting Magnetics Europe at RWM16The Waste and Skip Trade Exhibition is being held for the 4th year, with an annual growth in exhibitors and visitors.  Bunting and Master Magnets have both exhibited since 2015.

“With the acquisition of Master Magnets, this is a big year for both companies and Waste 17 is the first time that we will be exhibiting together,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.

The amalgamation of the two product portfolios provides an extended range of metal separation solutions for the recycling sector.

The Master Magnets Overband Magnet is used extensively in recycling operations such as MRFs and on mobile plants.  Suspended above a conveyor, the Overband attracts and lifts metal out from non-metallic materials.

Master Magnets Mobile Eddy Current Separator (1200)Being demonstrated at Waste 17 is the Master Magnets Eddy Current Separator, used to separate non-ferrous metals from non-metallic materials.  2017 has proved to be a very busy year for Eddy Current Separator projects.  Metal Separation Systems incorporating Eddy Current Separators have been exported across the world and projects include a Finnish Waste Processing Plant.  At Waste 17, they will be officially launching the Mobile Eddy Current Separator.

Working alongside the Eddy Current Separator is the Bunting Stainless Steel Separator.  The two metal separators work side-by-side in recovering or removing non-ferrous metals from non-metallic materials such as reclaimed plastic.

“Visitors will be able to see stainless steel and non-ferrous metals being separated on our stand, ” reported Dave.  “Seeing is believing and we wanted to demonstrate our expanded metal separation capabilities.  This is a very exciting time for us and our customers.”

For more information of the Waste 17 show or Metal Separation Equipment such as the Eddy Current Separator, Stainless Steel Separator, and Overband Magnets, please contact us on:

Phone:  +44 (0) 1442 875081


Via the website


Recyclable Product Design is vital to meet Future Recycling Targets

Is Our Environmental Future Simply Down to Design?

Technology that enables the separation of one or more materials from another has been essential even before the industrial revolution.  The more recent global necessity for the reclamation, reuse and recycling of materials has driven equipment developers to develop a wide range of separation systems to separate and purify materials such as metal, plastic and glass.  Separation is achieved using magnetics, infrared, metal detecting coils and X-Ray.

However, irrespective of the ability of the separation technology, successful separation is governed by the proportion of liberation.  This means that materials that need to be separated are free from each other.

Liberation is an age-old problem and one originally encountered in the mining and mineral processing industry.  An ore would be mined and then crushed to liberate valuable minerals.  Separation would then occur using magnetic separation, density tables, screens and other such technology, and the ability to separate and produce clean, valuable ore would dictate the viability and life of the mining operation.

The recycling industry has adopted very similar technology, with a focus on segregation, liberation, and separation.  This applies to all sectors of recycling irrespective of the material being processed.  The complexity of the recycling process is dictated by the material, and therein lies the problem.Bunting Vulcanis--2

Separation technology will continue to evolve.  There are new systems to magnetically separation stainless steel and PCBs and sensor-based sorters can be tuned to achieve incredible levels of separation.  Even robotics technology is entering the separation field.

Nevertheless, near 100% separation is not possible without good liberation and, although the technology for crushing, shredding and granulating is excellent, the recycling industry needs some new thinking from the designers of the primary products.

Too often, products are designed with different materials for no other reason that aesthetics.  Packaging is a prime example and although there have been advances made (eg not having metal tops of plastic bottles), there needs to be a complete rethink with a focus on the recyclability of a product.  The eventual recyclability of a product should bear more weight in the design criteria of a product than the appearance.  Why use several different types of plastic in one packaging product when one will suffice?plastic-bottles

Clever and forward thinking product design will make separation at all stages of the process easier and improve recycling rates.  This is an manufacturing industry issue and action is needed before the Government decides to introduce complex and unworkable legislation.  Designers should work closely with the recycling industry to understand what materials can be separated and how.  Improved designs will potentially reduce the cost of processing, increase the viability of the recycling operations, and have a positive impact on our environment.

Implementing such fundamental changes to the way products are designed will enable countries to reach the EU recycling target of 65% before 2030.  However, whether product designers list recyclability as one of the primary specifications remains questionable.

For further information on the range of metal separation equipment available from Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets, please contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Via the website


Bunting Magnetic Separators at Pollutec

Developing Recycling Business in France with Distributor Pronix at Pollutec 2016

Bunting Europe’s distributor in France, Pronix, will be displaying a wide range of recycling equipment at the Pollutec 2016 expo in Lyon (29th November – 2nd December 2016) in Hall 3 Aisle D Stand 175.

The bi-annual Pollutec focuses on the reduction of the impact of human activities on the environment.  This encompasses a wide range of technologies for industry, local authorities and in the service sector.  The global range of exhibitors is extensive.

Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales, will be supporting Pronix on their Pollutec stand.

“Developing our [Bunting Europe] overseas business has been a primary focus in 2016.  Supporting Pronix in France, by providing Magnetic Separators to display on their stand and being present to assist with handling enquiries, is really important.  Success in developing business in export markets is based on providing good support to our local representatives.”

Providing metal separation solutions for the recycling industry is an important and expanding sector of the business for Bunting.

“Sales of Overband Magnets, Metal Detectors and Eddy Current Separators for recycling applications continues to grow,” explained Dave Hills.  “Introducing new technology such as the Stainless Steel (HISC) Separator has also increased awareness of what we have to offer.”

In 2016, Bunting has been prominent at major recycling and plastics exhibitions in Europe including Waste 16, RWM 2016 and K2016.  Earlier in November 2016, Dave Hills and client Roger Evans from Recapture Plastics spoke at a major recycling conference in The Netherlands about the challenges of setting up a plastics recycling operation.

Bunting Metal Separation System Recapture Plastics-4

“Attending Pollutec enables us to gain an understanding of the recycling and waste sectors in France,” said Dave.  “Speaking to visitors will help us appreciate the different challenges faced in France.  By working closely with our local distributor, Pronix, we can ensure that our Metal Separation solutions meet the needs of recycling companies in France.  I am really excited about the show.”

For more information about Metal Separation and Recovery in the Recycling sector, please contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Via the website




Talking Plastics Recycling in Rotterdam

Customer Recapture Plastics Speaks at Plastics Recycling Conference

Leading industry publication. Recycling Today, organised a conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands discussing the challenges of plastics recycling.  Plastics Recycling Conference Europe (2-3 November 2016) features speakers from companies across the World, bringing together a wealth of plastic recycling knowledge.

Our Head of Sales, Dave Hills, was supporting one of our customers, Recapture Plastics.  Roger Evans of Recapture has many years of experience in plastics recycling and was giving a presentation on setting up a plant in the UK.

Recapture Plastics purchased a Metal Separation Module (Drum Magnet and Eddy Current Separator) and a Metal Separator to remove metal contamination from reclaimed plastic.  The equipment formed one part of an extensive recycling process.

Bunting Metal Separation System Recapture Plastics

Roger was speaking in a section of the conference looking at the economics of plastics recycling.  A great deal of the conference had focused on addressing the issue of packaging plastics (eg bags and film), but Roger explained how his recycling operation in Kent is based around recycling hard plastics.

Hard plastics contribute around 42% to the total amount of plastic waste.  Roger identified this as a niche market.  It took 2 years to develop and start the plant from the initial concept and, during this period, Recapture had to overcome a series of hurdles.

Setting up the plant and developing the process to produce a valuable product took time.  Having a close working relationship with the equipment suppliers was vital as the process was adjusted to deliver the best result.

There are also many financial challenges that Recapture had to overcome.  There were the initial setup costs, including the cost of the processing equipment.  Once the plant was operational, they had to pay up front for waste material to process.  Delivery of material could take 4 weeks and then payment for the sale was usually 30 days post delivery, stretching the cash flow.  Such financial challenges make it difficult for smaller businesses to open plastics recycling operations.

The Kent plant has now been operational for nearly 12 months and is producing high quality plastic flake.  Roger is already looking at replicating the plant at 2 locations in the UK.

As highlighted at the K Plastics Show, Plastics Recycling is not given the level of importance it needs.  Plastic waste continues to hit the headlines in a negative way and the establishment of plastics recycling plants like Recapture Plastics is essential.

For more information on Metal Separation equipment used at the Recapture Plastics recycling operation in Kent, or to discuss a specific project, please contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081


Is Plastics Recycling A Priority at K2016?

Recycling Technology on Show at K2016

The UK has set an objective of recycling 57% of plastic packaging by 2020.  To achieve this target, the Plastics Industry Recycing Action Plan (PIRAP) is being implemented by the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and Plastics Europe with the support of WRAP.

However, with only 29% of plastics packaging presently being recycled in the UK (2015), the target of 57% appears to be presently out-of-sight.

2016 has not been a comfortable year for UK plastics recycling companies, with a number of closures across the country such as Boomerang Plastics and Ecotech in Rainham (now being reopened by Veolia).

Although there is political pressure to achieve the 57% target, there are questions about the financial viability, especially in the short term.  Setting up a successful plastics recycling plant is not cheap and requires substantial investment in technology.

Additionally, the plant will also need substantial land for the storage of raw feed and processing material.  Plastic is light and voluminous even when baled and regulations on storing and stockpiling mean that large storage areas are required to ensure that there is enough material to process on a constant basis.  And land costs money.

Technology remains the key to unlocking the door to successful plastics recycling.  At K2016, there are 134 companies listed as supplying ‘recycling equipment’.   However, this is only 5% of the total number of companies listed as supplying ‘equipment’.  Is this an indicator of the real priority being given to plastics recycling?

We [Bunting] have supplied Metal Separation equipment to a number of plastics recycling operations in the UK including:

The future of plastics recycling remains unclear, apart from the large and looming figure of 57%.  Plastic industry exhibitions like K2016 have an enormous responsibility to showcase the technology that will enable the UK and other countries around the world achieve their plastics recycling targets.  Maybe more needs to be done to get more companies supplying recycling technology to the show.

Bunting provide a range of metal separation solutions for the recycling industry.  For further details on the Bunting range of Eddy Current Separators, Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please contact our technical sales team on:



5 Unusual Items Recovered Using Magnetic Separators

What Gets Recovered by a Magnet?

Having worked in the recycling industry for over 30 years, it never ceases to amaze me what is recovered from secondary materials and waste.  Here are 5 unusual items:

  1. Spanish peseta coins – Out of date and, more oddly, recovered from metal that had passed through a car shredding operation in the UK. One coin dated back to 1937!
  2. Wedding rings – A frightening number of wedding rings get recovered from material like incineration ash by Eddy Current Separators. But the real question is how did the wedding ring end up in the waste?  Was it lost or thrown away?
  3. Cast iron engines – By this we mean the whole engine.  To increase the weight, engine blocks are found inserted into the centre of bales of Aluminium Beverage Cans.  The significant weight difference is a give away, but if the bale does get through it can cause serious damage to the primary shredder;
  4. Mobile Phones – Not so unusual you may think, until it started ringing as it got lifted up off the conveyor by the Overband Cross Belt Magnetic Separator;old-mobile-phones-2
  5. A Trophy – But not just any old trophy, a large silver plated cup for a Sunday league football competition in the North East. Discarded by accident or in disgust?

All the items listed were recovered using either:

For ferrous magnetic metals:

For non-ferrous, non-magnetic metals:

For more information on the strange items separated by Magnetic Separators, please contact us on:

Phone: 01442 875081


Via our website