Life+ generates profits on several fronts
By: Hans van de Greef
Just imagine it: a row of 12 trucks fully laden with copper. Each year, this is just about the amount of copper we expect to retrieve from the plastic fraction of shredder waste on our new metal recovery line. This new facility represents an important next step in further increasing the yield from the PST plant.
Purer waste flows
After a long period of study and testing, at the start of June we opened the new metal recovery line, a step that generates profits on two fronts. Firstly, this installation enables us to retrieve such metals as copper, stainless steel and aluminium from the waste flow that consists mainly of plastic. Every year, we process some 4,000 tonnes of plastic, from which we can retrieve 250 tonnes – or 12 trucks full – of copper alone. And even then we are by no means at maximum capacity. These metals are valuable raw materials for which we are offered an ever higher price by the processing industry as the degree of purity increases. The same applies for the flow of plastics which thanks to this additional separation stage are also purer. And that too is positive for the raw material price, as well as increasing the number of potential sales channels.
Life+ makes it worth the effort
The fact that we were able to build this new line is to a considerable extent thanks to the Life+ subsidy received by ARN in 2011. This subsidy was spent on research into new machines and separation techniques. Research work takes a great deal of time and energy but the results demonstrate that it was worth the effort. At the same time, the studies also generate valuable knowledge of new techniques; and that too represents profit.
New sales opportunities
All this good news in no way means that we intend to rest on our laurels at the PST plant. We will continue to look for methods of further improving the recycling process, and are continuing to investigate new sales opportunities for the valuable raw materials recovered from the shredder waste. Of key importance in that respect is the fact that we can now further clean the mineral fraction – that consists of glass, sand and other materials. We are also making interesting developments in fibre processing at the PST plant. I look forward to telling you more about that development in my next blog.
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