The UK recycling publication MRW featured a news article entitled ‘Metal targets matter’ in the 11 October 2014 issue. The article stated that Alupro, the UK’s aluminium packaging industry association, expressed concerns at suggested EU packaging recycling targets for 2030. Alupro quoted recycling rates for aluminium packaging as now being over 43% but also added “we believe the proposals are… probably unachievable”.
Increasing automated recycling and recovery aluminium and steel beverage cans and other metals from waste, whether comingled or pre-sorted, using Magnetic Separators will significantly increase the chances of achieving those EU targets. Recently, Bunting released a press release on the Vulcanis installation in Barking, which has been built to solely focus on metal can recovery.
The technology for recovery both aluminium and steel cans from refuse is well established. Selecting the right equipment for the application is key and compromising on the design by buying the cheapest option often results in lower recovery rates, reduced quality product and poorer returns on investment.
An Overband Cross Belt Separator is commonly used suspended across a conveyor or over a non-magnetic head pulley at the end of a conveyor. It is more commonly installed using a permanent magnet, it is recognised that a twin pole design, as installed by Vulcanis, achieves the best recovery of steel cans.
Aluminium cans are recovered using an Eddy Current Separator. There are various designs available, with concentric and eccentric rotors, and the overall size of the equipment ranges enormously. Eddy Current Separators designed for installation in more compact spaces with a focus on easy and simply maintenance is increasingly preferred. It is also worth noting that results from installations on site have shown that Eddy Current Separators that throw the furthest may also produce the lowest quality material, an issue that needs to be considered during the selection process.
With regards to the comment from Alupro, there is no doubt that the EU target is challenging, but installing well designed and specified Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separator will make that target far more achievable.