Recycling is the priority of the whole world. Everyone is working tirelessly to recycle everything in every field. It has become very commonplace to talk about the importance of recycling over and over again. Because we talked about the problems of recycling, not the importance of recycling. How happy we are!
So what is the most important problem of recycling? Of course, decomposing… Is this problem only in the plastics industry? Of course not… But we would like to tell you about a good development in the plastics industry.
A weakness in the recycling chain has long been on the agenda. Good waste separation is a prerequisite for the consistent and reliable production of high-quality recycling. Two German companies, optical technology giant Zeiss and Polysecure, a trace solutions manufacturer, have teamed up to develop cutting-edge technology in waste separation, or more specifically plastic waste separation. As the pioneer of Tracer Based Separation (TBS) technology, Polysecure has developed new sign materials and TBS sorting machine technology that allow reliable sorting operations with detection rates close to 100%.
This technology could provide the basis for higher recycling rates – ‘and a more circular economy’. The company has partnered with Zeiss, which is experienced in the optics industry and has a history of 175 years. It has been inextricably linked from the very beginning for Zeiss, which belongs to the Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of Germany’s largest foundations dedicated to promoting science, sustainability and business success. The first goal in the strategic cooperation between the two companies is the development of a new multimode optical detector that can combine several measurements for each waste object:
NIR (near infrared) measurement, color measurement, image recognition and, if necessary, a watermark detection. After passing through the detection unit, all objects in a waste stream will be strictly classified according to their properties and fraction relations. Even sorting by manufacturer brand and/or product groups is an option using this process. The high quality and purity of the plastic waste that is pre-sorted in this way will allow it to be converted into useful recycling products, for example by efficient processing in terms of CO2 through mechanical recycling.
As Max Riedel, head of the Zeiss Innovation Center at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, explains: “The two technology companies complement each other ideally here. Polysecure manufactures tracers, enables process innovations and sorting machine construction, while Zeiss provides optical components and image processing. Polysecure CEO’ Water and its founder, Jochen Moesslein, added that working with Zeiss will allow the company to further develop its technology. It will be integrated into a new separation line at POLYSECURE in
The sorting line will be designed for multiple waste streams, including plastic packaging, textiles, shredded vehicles, white goods, electrical products and even production waste from the plastics industry. The two partners say that the new sorting process will not cause additional costs in recycling processes and will offer a more reliable, precise and flexible solution than existing technology. Once the technical and economic goals are met, the companies, together with other strategic partners, will make the new technology available worldwide.