Today, sorting and recycling centres face major challenges. The field is in complete turmoil because the rules of the game have changed dramatically over a short period of time.
On the one hand, tighter regulations on waste disposal and incineration by applying preventive measures to divert as much waste as possible from landfill sites add pressure on sorting centres and thereby increase the amount of material to be processed.
On the other hand, the market, particularly on the Chinese side, is tightening its requirements in terms of the quality of the materials recovered, thereby reducing market opportunities. Such a difficult environment requires local companies to improve the performance of their sorting processes in order to optimize the quality of their finished products.
The main factor in the degraded quality of processed materials is the poor management of various contaminants in the form of fine particulate matter in sorting and recycling centres.
AIREX frequently provides its expertise to sorting centres in order to help clean their air. The variety of materials to be managed complicates the dust collection problem, but fortunately there are many solutions that can be implemented.
It is difficult to imagine the amount of dust that can exist in sorting centres and the resulting visibility problems are major. This is explained in particular by the type of equipment used, such as machine tools (or sorting robots). Since dust collection is not the primary function of these machines, they generally have several shortcomings in this area, such as non-optimal capture ports.
In addition, equipment adjustments are often made on site by internal teams. Experts who come in to analyze the air emissions must therefore deal with a diverse array of machines, harsh conditions and a wide variety of dust.
The Importance of a Proper Analysis
When a sorting facility is experiencing dust problems, the situation must first be analyzed from A to Z. It is essential that an experienced specialist be assigned to this task given the complexity of the mandate.
In order to make a diagnosis, analysts will focus on:
- The size of the source capture openings
- Containment of sorting and conveyor equipment
- The speed of material transportation
- Dust load, density and toxicity
- Humidity issues
- Explosion hazards
In order to allow staff to work without masks, the whole issue of pressurization must also be considered. For example, in manual sorting rooms, it is important to maintain positive pressure to prevent dust from infiltrating from other rooms.
Many Strategies Available
To counter dust problems in the recycling sector, several solutions are possible. After analyzing the configuration of the plant and its challenges, AIREX specialists will be able to suggest a variety of possible solutions, such as installing a containment curtain, modifying the capture points, installing an air knife on the conveyors, installing a Zbox (which helps to minimize dust) or other methods and technologies adapted to the client’s needs.
After the contaminant suction and exhaust air extraction phase, an analyst will focus on the supply of new air and heat recovery from an energy efficiency perspective.
Generally speaking, these interventions in sorting and recycling centres aim to:
- Improve the work environment for employees
- Reduce fire hazards based on insurance standards
- Extend the life of equipment that can be damaged by dust accumulation
AIREX’s expertise can really help the sorting and recycling centres overcome their challenges so that they are more competitive and can provide a healthier workplace for the people who work there. Call on us!