©Library VEOLIA-Christophe Majani d'Inguimbert

Hands-free waste sorting!

Posted on 17 October 2017.

Two technological innovations developed and patented by Veolia mean the Amiens sorting center can handle 2.5 times more waste per hour and recover 6% more waste packaging.

A new sorting center opened in Amiens on November 6, 2014. Renovated by Veolia, the site incorporates two advanced technologies patented by the Group: sequential self-adaptive sorting (TSA2) and remotely operated sorting (TTO), which via a touch screen allow operators to sort the waste without touching it. How do these two innovative processes work together to improve the identification, separation and preparation of materials and so improve recovery rates?

To start with the sequential self-adaptive sorting automatically sorts the different plastics according to their composition. The waste circulates on a conveyor belt, much like the suitcases at the airport. They pass at high speed under a scanner, which identifies the category of the majority of the materials present. These are ejected by air jets, while the other materials remain on the waste carousel, returning under the optical machine until their category is in the majority. The materials removed pass a quality control station that refines the selection.

This is when remote sorting takes over. An operator checks and corrects any TS2A errors. Using the touch screen, which displays the sorted waste, the operator can select and exclude any "intruders" simply by touching them on the screen.

Innovation for waste recovery

Now deployed on several sites, these two technologies make it possible to significantly increase sorting center performance. They result in better sorting compared to manual sorting by including more types of materials and more closely meeting the requirements of certain industries - such as the plastics industry. While the TS2A process increases productivity, remotely operated sorting improves sorting accuracy, and so improves recovery rates, which now exceed 95 %. On the Amiens site, for example, about 2.5 times more waste is sorted per hour and 6% more household packaging is recovered using these two processes. Good for the climate since one tonne of recycled plastic avoids the discharge of 2,290 kg CO2 equivalent.