Suez starts up new sorting plant for packaging waste in Germany

Suez opens a new sorting plant for packaging waste
14.05.2019 − 

(D) – A German subsidiary of French environmental services group Suez commissioned a new sorting plant for lightweight packaging in Ölbronn in south-western Germany at the start of May. Costing more than €30m, the materials recovery facility (MRF) will run three shifts and sort around 100,000 tonnes a year of mixed lightweight packaging waste from households (plastics, metals, beverage cartons, paper and board). The input material will be collected within a radius of about 150 kilometres of the plant on behalf of extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes for packaging waste. Suez Recycling Süd managing director Jochen Zickwolf said that the facility was running at capacity and that its start-up had created a total of 50 jobs.

According to Mr Zickwolf, the plant will sort the packaging waste into 14 different fractions of recyclable materials, including nine different plastic fractions. He put the recycling rate achieved at almost 54 per cent. Suez is using largely automated sorting technology with 21 camera-based near-infrared (NIR) sorters and fully-automated weighing and baling technology for sorted recyclables. Mr Zickwolf added that a sorting system for black plastic would be installed in the coming months. Suez has chosen a new unit from the French manufacturer Pellenc ST, which also supplied the near-infrared sorting technology.

With a 9,000 m² bunker that is eight metres deep, the facility's material reception was unique for a sorting plant within Europe, Mr Zickwolf noted. Interim storage in the underground bunker improved worker safety by clearly separating delivery traffic, input management and plant feeding. An electrical excavator feeds the more than 200 conveyer belts in the sorting hall with material from the underground bunker. Suez has also put in place an innovative fire protection plan, which automatically identifies and fights hot spots before major fires can break out in the first place. The underground bunker and sorting line are also separated from one another by a fire wall with a bulkhead that closes automatically.

The company is not done expanding, either: Suez is also considering building a €7m-€8m plastic processing line. The managing director did not specify whether this line would also be built in Ölbronn, noting that Suez would first enter into

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