Sorting and purifying PMD waste for recycling

At its Community Recycling Centre in Willebroek, Indaver sorts selectively-collected household packaging waste, better known as PMD (Plastic packaging, Metal packaging, Drinks cartons). PMD waste includes:    

  • all forms of plastic packaging, such as bottles, containers, hard plastic packaging, trays and plastic films
  • metal packaging such as tin cans, aluminium trays, drinks cans and aerosols from foods and cosmetics
  • drinks cartons

Once sorted, these materials become new raw materials for the recycling industry.

Partner for Flemish Public Authorities

The facility in Willebroek treats 60,000 tonnes of PMD waste from public authorities who collect the waste through kerbside collection and recycling centres. Indaver is therefore a reliable partner to local authorities, intermunicipal organisations, cities and municipalities, and one that supports them in their transition to a circular economy.

Partner for the packaging industry

In Belgium, FOST Plus is responsible for managing packaging waste. This includes promoting, coordinating and financing selective collection, sorting and recycling. FOST Plus works closely with Indaver’s sorting centre in Willebroek. This is also the organisation that establishes the specific characteristics for PMD waste and the quality requirements for the outgoing material streams.    

Treatment process in ultra-modern sorting infrastructure

Indaver’s state-of-the-art facility sorts the waste into no less than 14 end products. A carefully-considered and ingenious arrangement of the machines ensures the materials delivered are of particularly high quality.

  • The PMD goes through an automated sack opener then into the rotating sieves, where it goes through an initial separation according to size.
  • First, very small parts such as bottle tops and screw caps are removed from the material stream. Magnets and eddy-current separators also recover the metals further at this point.
  • Wind sifters separate the plastic films from the hard packaging waste. Infra-red separators then sort the films further into different types. 
  • Once the light films have been removed from the material stream, the heavier packaging materials are sorted. These go through a treatment process in two parallel lines and consist of (among other things) bottles & containers, butter tubs, trays, cans and drinks packaging.
  • In both sorting lines, magnets first remove the metals from the stream. Infrared light then detects the drinks cartons and compressed air blows them out of the PMD waste. A non-ferrous separator, selects the non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium cans.
  • A ballistic separator separates hard and soft plastics. 
  • At the heart of the sorting plant there is an arsenal of optical separators. They separate the plastics using a combined technique of material and colour recognition. So the materials are purified to the high standards the recycling industry demands.
  • Finally, the pre-sorted fractions come into the sorting hall. Here, our sorters check a number of fractions again for impurities.

Traceability for a pure loop

Indaver delivers end products with a very high level of purity. The new raw materials meet all of the criteria set by the recycling industry. So, we are closing the materials loop and maintaining high quality. Furthermore, every bale is given an ID label. This provides all of the details required for this information to remain traceable once the bale has left our sorting centre. 

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Address

Indaver Willebroek
Boomsesteenweg 199
2830 WILLEBROEK
Belgium
t +32 3 860 73 00
f +32 3 866 38 03
PMD treatment

Indaver built a brand-new PMD processing plant in Willebroek in 2019-2020. View the timelapse of the construction here.

Timelapse construction of new processing plant