Tomra, a Norwegian firm engaged in the field of instrumentation for recycling solutions, has unveiled a new solution for separating single-layer PET trays from PET bottles.
The solution improves the earlier capability of the company’s AUTOSORT machine to separate multi-layer trays.
Tomra’s AUTOSORT is the first near-infrared scan system which does not need an external light source. It incorporates Flting Beam technology for stable performance atseveral temperatures due to the extended temperature range.
Tomra’s Flying Beam technology played a key role in the development of the solution. The separation of single-layer PET trays and PET bottles includes a step-by-step process.
Packaging material collected or pre-sorted from municipal solid waste (MSW) will initially be run via a mechanical treatment process during the preparation for sorting mixed plastics into several polymers.
The process reduces voluminous materials, especially soft items like plastic, film, and non-plastic products.
Tomra said to then separate mixed PET into different polymers, AUTOSORT functions as a combined system, identifying material and colour in combination with grain size.
The process will achieve a sorting efficiency of 95% or greater even with a very mixed material input.
Tomra expects PET regeneration centres and collection/sorting plants welcome the new capability. More than a million plastic bottles are bought across the world every minute and within the next five years the number is estimated to increase by an additional 20%.
Organizations such as Plastics Recyclers Europe are proposing recycling guidelines for PET trays to encourage separate sorting streams to allow PET tray recycling and to develop markets for the packaging product.
Image: The step-by-step process which concludes with the separation of single-layer PET trays and PET bottles is claimed to be flexible. Photo: courtesy of TOMRA.