Influence of pre-screening on down-stream processing for the production of plastic enriched fractions for recycling from mixed commercial and municipal waste

Selina Möllnitz, Bastian Küppers, Alexander Curtis, Karim Khodier, Renato Sarc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The use of plastic waste as resource gains more and more attention. In this context, material recycling is especially focused on packaging plastics. Further waste streams that contain a significant amount of plastics are mixed commercial and municipal solid waste. To assess the potential of plastics for recycling and energy recovery from these material streams large-scale experiments were conducted. The potential of mechanical pre-processing with the aim of generating a 3D-plastics pre-concentrate was assessed. The focus of these investigations was put on the relevance of the screening stage and its influence on down-stream material processing via ballistic separation and sensor-based sorting. Results demonstrate not only that the screening of both waste streams leads to enrichment of plastics in coarse particle size ranges (especially >80 mm) and transfer of contaminants, organics and minerals to fine fractions (especially <10 mm), but also that sensor-based sorting performance can be significantly enhanced due to cleaning effects on plastics, induced by the material circulation and the resulting interparticle friction in a drum screen. On the downside, the material rotation in a drum screen leads to tail-formation that can create plant down-time through clogging as well as material losses and impairment of preconcentrates.
Translated title of the contributionEinfluss der Vorabsiebung auf die nachgeschaltete Aufbereitung zur Herstellung von kunststoffangereicherten Fraktionen für das Recycling aus gemischten Gewerbe- und Siedlungsabfällen
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-373
JournalWaste management
Issue number119
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020

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