Factors Shaping the New Recycling Industry

The new Southern Nevada Recycling Center includes an innovative Learning Center. Republic Services

The worldwide recycling industry is changing the way it works. New recycling technologies; focus on sustainability and community outreach are all having great impacts on the business and policy.

New Recycling Technologies Having Impacts

Initiatives have been undertaken by many recycling and waste management companies and authorities to develop new, state of the art technologies that can make recycling more cost-effective.

The Holistic Innovative Solutions for an Efficient Recycling and Recovery of Valuable Raw Materials from Complex Construction and Demolition Waste (HISER) project is working to develop such revolutionary technologies. Here are quick overviews of some such innovative, automated sorting and recycling technologies which are going to have huge impact on recycling industry:

New Generation Of Automated, Sensor Based Sorting Technology: In recent times, the sensor based automated technologies have made sorting more effective. These technologies separate materials into two main streams from a single stream and in the process, the unwanted materials get separated as well. So, the new generation of sensor-based sorting makes three separate streams from a single stream of waste.

New Low-Cost Classification Technology (ADR system): Advanced Dry Recovery (ADR) system performs purely automatically in a moist state without prior drying or wet screening and avoids problems with dust and reduces process complexity.

Innovative Recycling Technologies for Gypsum Plasterboards: Low cost mobile compact equipment, a compact portable apparatus, will guarantee the careful onsite recovery of pre-consumer cardboard and gypsum with 85 percent purity levels for both fractions instead of multi-stage recycling processes. On the other hand, advanced gypsum sorting and recycling schemes will provide highly pure recycled gypsum.

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and NIR sensors will be integrated into such screams.

Continued Drive for Sustainability

One of the main focuses of worldwide recycling industry is sustainability. The concepts of “Zero Waste” and “Circular Economy” have gained huge importance. Recycling companies, communities and environmental organizations continually emphasized the need for designing and producing products that are easily recoverable and recyclable. Thus, designing products with recycling in mind is one of the many ways unwanted waste generation can be avoided. The idea is simple; it involves identifying materials that will be of no use at the end of product life cycle and will be difficult to recover and recycle. Eliminating such materials from the products at the design stage can increase the recyclability of the product.

Again, Waste-to-Energy too has gained popularity as it has a number of advantages including more cost effective than landfilling, conservation of natural resources and at the same time generating energy that can be used for many different purposes. As long as most products can be easily recovered and recycled and the remaining waste stream can be used to produce energy, sustainability will be ensured.

Focus On Education and Community Outreach

With some recycling operators reporting as much as 10 percent trash in curbside recycling streams, especially as communities move to large single stream recycling bins, the importance of consumer participation in accomplishing the sustainability goals is taking on a new importance. Communities and recyclers are taking a number of innovative approaches to such outreach beyond brochures and website information to recycling mascots and public or school tour opportunities. For example, the new Southern Nevada Recycling Center includes a learning center, featuring educational displays and videos, and a live video stream of recycling operations. It also includes an observation platform that provides a rare 360-degree view of the recycling process.

Final Note: The new, state of the art technologies, community education and continued efforts to attain sustainability are playing a big part in taking the worldwide recycling industry to a new level where recycling will be cost effective and a straightforward choice.