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The optical sorting system

Optibag is a fully automated optical sorting system for municipal waste. The technology offers the customer a possibility to develop a resource efficient circular economy by upcycling household waste into a variety of valuable and recyclable fractions.

The customers are municipalities, cities, local authorities as well as private contractors within the waste management sector. The users range from households to commercial developments including restaurants and shops.

How it works

  • Users are provided with different coloured waste bags corresponding to the different waste streams that are collected by the municipality.
  • Each colour represents one waste fraction. For example, green could be used for food waste, red for paper waste and yellow for cardboard packaging and so on. Basically, any household waste fraction can be collected with the Optibag system.
  • The waste bags are placed in the designated chute, bin or container and then collected with a conventional waste truck and transported to the Optibag plant. Upon arrival, the waste bags are dumped into a receiving pit and transferred to a conveyor belt.
  • Once on the conveyor belt, the bags are sorted automatically using camera technology that recognises the colour of the bag. When a green bag (for example) is detected a signal is sent from the camera and the bag is pushed off the main conveyor belt, onto an underlying belt and is then directed to a receiving container or directly to further processing
  • The fully automated optical sorting procedure is managed and supervised by an operator from the plant control room.
  • The segregated materials are recycled, or processed to biogas and biofertilizers. Residual waste is often incinerated to produce environmentally friendly district heating/cooling.

The waste is separated in the kitchen

The benefits of the optical sorting system

  • Less space is required for waste storage and waste logistics are improved. All waste bags are collected in the same waste chute or bin so there is no need for a special recycling room or house to hold several bins for the different waste streams.
  • Lorry miles – and therefore carbon emissions – are reduced as a result of collecting every waste stream in one single batch. No additional waste trucks need to be invested in and the existing infrastructure for waste collection can be used without any cost increases.
  • More important, given the simplicity of the system, waste separation is conducted at the source and not at a recycling station. Evidence suggests that the easier it is to separate and dispose off the waste, the more people tend to use the system. The Envac Optibag system is easy to implement and regular customer surveys have proven its user-friendliness.

The GrowSmarter Project

Envac has combined pneumatic waste collection with optical sorting using colour-coded bags for the globally renowned EU-funded GrowSmarter project. The dual-technology system, which incorporates smart control technology, offers feedback to users, owners and operators and has minimised Envac’s installation cost by collecting all waste streams through one inlet as opposed to allocating one inlet per stream.

Read the press release

More about Optibag

If you are interested in this solution and want to find out more …

... please visit the official web site
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