The improvements in the pre-treatment of residual waste, part of the continual regeneration of the Maresme Integral Centre for Waste Recovery, have been key to achieving such a significant improvement in such a short time.
In 2017 The Maresme Integral Centre for Waste Recovery is carrying out work focused on the improvement in the recovery of recyclable materials, mainly packaging. These actions have resulted in a 22% increase in packaging material recovery in the first three months since these new systems, materials and methods were introduced.
Specifically, the pre-treatment system has been modified, with the objective of increasing the quantity of plastics (PET, PEAD) and ferric and non-ferric metals recovered. For this purpose a series of actions have been carried out: The central mesh on the revolving classification sieves (trommels), which initiate all the automatic separation of the different fractions, have been changed for larger ones; Other improvements in the trommels have been made to assist bag opening and classification efficiency; Two new ballistic separators have been installed to manage more efficiently the flow of materials that the new central mesh of the trommels classify. With respect to this, the inclination of this equipment has been increased to 25 degrees, thus improving the separation of planar materials (bags and papers) and rolling materials (bottles, cans, cartons, etc.); The optic separators have been updated and reconfigured, with the incorporation of dual-channel equipment in material recovery. This equipment uses spectrometry IR technology which distinguishes the composition of different types of materials, and efficiently separates them accordingly.
The majority of the improvements were carried out during the first three weeks of March. The results obtained since then appear in the graph next to this article.
Analysing the results since the introduction of the improvements, total recoverable materials have increased, especially the recovery of plastics PET and PEAD. It is worth noting that approximately half of the light packaging that is recycled in the Maresme comes from being sorted from residual waste at the Centre, while the other half comes from selective collection from the yellow recycling bins.
This data shows there is still much room for improvement in selective collection, due to the quantity of packaging that still ends up in residual or mixed waste. Despite the hard work of the Consortium in treating this waste, it’s necessary for the public to be more aware of the need to improve selective collection to promote quality recycling from materials which are as clean as possible, within the framework of the application of the circular economy.