Net zero diversion: Wastech Engineering

Jeff Goodwin of Wastech Engineering speaks with Waste Management Review about bolstering organics recovery with highly efficient equipment.

In its recently released Net Zero Plan Stage One: 2020-2030, the NSW Government outlines its plan to achieve net zero emissions from organic waste to landfill by 2030.

“Organic waste, such as food scraps and garden trimmings, makes up about 40 per cent of red-lidded kerbside bins. When sent to landfill, the decomposing material releases methane that may not be captured,” the plan reads.

“However, when this waste is managed effectively, through proper composting and recycling processes, methane emissions can be substantially reduced, soils can be regenerated to store carbon and biogas can be created to generate electricity.”

The plan follows similar initiatives in Victoria. With the state’s Recycling Victoria strategy targeting a 50 per cent reduction in organic material sent to landfill by 2030, with an interim target of 20 per cent by 2025.

Jeff Goodwin, Wastech Engineering’s National Product Manager Projects, is enthused by the announcements, highlighting Wastech’s long standing commitment to sustainable organics processing.

Food waste is a significant issue in Australia, Jeff explains, noting that a recent Rabobank Food Waste Report revealed that Australians wasted $10.1 billion in food waste in 2019.

“It’s heartening to see governments across the country committing to food waste reduction initiatives, which is something we at Wastech have been passionate about for a long time,” he says.

“Now is the time for waste companies and food waste generators to heed the call and start investing in efficient and high capacity food waste processing solutions.”

With a 99 per cent recovery rate for both dry and liquid products, Jeff says Wastech’s ATRITOR Turbo Separator is one such solution.

Available exclusively through Wastech, the Turbo Separator range comprises four models, making it suitable for a wide range of de-packaging applications including separating organics from food waste packaging and paper from gypsum.

“The Turbo Separator combines centrifugal forces, self-generated airflow and mechanical processes to remove organic material from packaging – allowing the recovered material to be recycled,” Jeff says.

“The machine can recover anything from bread loafs in plastic wrap, beans in tins cans, milk in cartons and even pet food in plastic pouches. The only material it can’t process is glass, given its sharding effect.”

Several Turbo Separator installations have been purchased recently by recycling companies across Australia, Jeff says.

“When people are eating at a food court it’s common to throw everything into one bin, creating a mix of food and packaging waste that has been traditionally difficult to recover,” he says.

“Using the Turbo Separator however, operators can take a garbage bag containing food waste and packaging, tie up the garbage bag and run it through the machine.

“This allows shopping centres, which produce high levels of food waste, to recover that material and divert it from the general disposal stream.”

However, these bags often contain contamination such as glass bottles, so Jeff says it’s prudent to consider an inspection station prior to the Turbo Separator to remove unwanted materials first.

He adds that as a rule of thumb, for every kilogram of food waste, 10 per cent is packaging.

“When you remove packaging from the organic material, you’re able to recover 90 per cent of each kilogram of food waste, which then saves that material from entering landfill.”

The Turbo Separator includes a variable-speed shaft fitted with paddles, which rotates above a number of screens. The shaft, Jeff says, typically runs between 100 and 1000 rotations per minute, generating air flow as well as centrifugal and mechanical forces.

“Packaged material is fed by an infeed conveyor into the separation chamber, where rotating paddles open up the packaging,” he says.

“The force of the paddles then creates a squeezing effect, which separates packaging from its contents and allows the packaging to retain its integrity.”

This, Jeff says, is an added benefit, with the Turbo Separator’s squeezing as opposed to shredding process producing organic material free of shredded packaging residue.

Depending on material type, the recovered organics can be used for animal feed, nutrient-rich compost or anaerobic digestion.

Jeff explains that the separator is also well suited to product destruction, such as water or soda from half drunken bottles. It can also be used at a commercial level to recover beverages that are past their sell by date or have been damaged or incorrectly packaged.

“For operators dealing with wet material, Wastech can fit the Turbo Separator with a pump that removes liquids from the recovered organic throughput,” he says.

The design of the machine is extremely flexible, for instance, if an operator is only dealing with dry material, the pump isn’t required. Or, if they are working in a confined space, the separator can be re-configured into a different arrangement.”

According to Jeff, Wastech is ready to assist as Australia continues the fight against food waste.

“Wastech has been working in this space for years and we’re in it for the long haul. We believe a future free from food waste is possible and are excited to work with waste companies and food generators to achieve it,” he says.

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Paddles and packaging: Wastech Engineering

Wastech Engineering’s Jeff Goodwin explains how the ATRITOR Turbo Separator can help businesses achieve a food waste recovery rate of 99 per cent.

Growing populations and an associated increase in food consumption is accelerating the organic waste problem in Australia and around the world.

As reported by Waste Management Review in June, many Australian businesses are hesitant to engage in the source separation of food waste.

This is due to a limited number of recycling facilities able to process the recovered organics, together with concerns around the ability to recycle packaging.

With the National Packaging Targets are squarely on the waste industry’s agenda, the ability to effectively separate recyclable packaging from its contents is therefore equally important.

Jeff Goodwin, Wastech Engineering’s National Product Manager Projects, says growing issues around food waste generation, paired with rising landfill restrictions and capacity levels, was the driving factor behind a recent addition to Wastech’s product portfolio.

“Working with UK manufacturer ATRITOR, Wastech has added a range of turbo separators for food de-packaging to our product roster,” Jeff says.

“As the exclusive Australian representative for ATRITOR, Wastech can provide customers with a solution offering a typical food waste recovery rate of 99 per cent for both dry and liquid products.”

Jeff says the high recovery rate makes the Turbo Separator ideally suited for use in product destruction units.

The Turbo Separator range comprises four models designed and engineered to efficiently remove a wide range of products from their packaging.

“Wastech’s distribution range includes the TS1260, TS2096, TS3096 and TS42120 models, with a material dependant separation rate ranging from 600 kilograms an hour to 20,000 kilograms an hour,” Jeff says.

According to Jeff, the equipment ideal for separating out-of-date, out-of-specification or mislabelled products.

“Historically, expired and mislabelled food products were consigned to landfill due to the difficulty of extracting organics from packaging,” Jeff says.

“With the ATRITOR Turbo Separator we can begin shifting that practice.”

Jeff says the Turbo Separator is sufficiently flexible and can de-package a range of products and packaging materials including supermarket waste, tin cans, polymer bottles and soft packaging.

“Additionally, the Turbo Separator is equally at home separating gypsum from the backing paper in plasterboard,” Jeff says.

“The recovered gypsum can be used in agriculture or re-used in plasterboard manufacturing, while the recovered paper can be further recycled.”

Jeff says the Turbo Separator also works for blister packs, sachets, pouches, paper bags, aluminium cans, plastic bottles, plastic drums and TetraPak.

“The only unsuitable application is glass containers or bottles, as the glass shatters and the shards will contaminate the organics,” he explains.

The Turbo Separator combines centrifugal forces, self-generated airflow and mechanical processes to remove organic material from packaging.

Jeff says this allows the recovered materials to be recycled or disposed of correctly.

Packaged materials are fed by an infeed conveyor into the separation chamber, where a number of rotating paddles open up the packaging.

The force of the paddles then creates a squeezing effect, which separates packaging from its contents without destroying the packaging.

Depending on the material, the recovered organics can then be used for animal feed, nutrient-rich compost or anaerobic digestion.

Wastech can supply the Turbo Separator as a complete package, with an infeed hopper and conveyor, separation chamber and outfeed conveyors.

The separator is also delivered with a maintenance access platform and control cabinet.

“The Turbo Separator’s rugged and durable construction, coupled with high product separation rates and economy of operation, is an ideal proposition for all de-packaging applications.”

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Atritor Turbo Separator

The Atritor Turbo Separator was developed to separate products from their packaging, releasing them for recycling or disposal.

Available through Australian distributor Wastech Engineering, the Turbo Separator enables up to 99 per cent of dry or liquid products to be separated from their packaging with minimal contamination. This allows the contents to be used for compost, anaerobic digestion or animal feedstock. The Turbo Separator can be manufactured in a range of throughputs up to 20 tonnes per hour.

Additionally, the process is so efficient that it leaves the packaging relatively intact and clean to facilitate downstream recycling. According to Wastech, when compared to other methods of packaging separation, the Turbo Separator achieves higher separation efficiencies with lower power consumption, resulting in reduced operating costs.

The Turbo Separator is ideal for separating out of specification, out of date and mislabeled products from a variety of packaging, including cans, plastic bottles and boxes. The diverse range of applications includes the separation of paper from gypsum in plasterboard, general foodstuffs from their packaging and liquids from their containers.

It is available complete with infeed and outfeed conveyors and liquid transfer pumps. The Turbo Separator, with its durable construction and adjustable paddles, enables the separation of a wide variety of products. Each Turbo Separator installation can be configured to suit multiple applications and a variable shaft speed enables enhanced separation efficiency. The machine is available in mild steel and stainless steel to suit the application.

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