Optimising glass recycling has its reward

An original project to automatically separate glass through specific optical equipment wins the ‘Natural Innovators’ award.

In a world that is saturated and increasingly damaged by humankind, caring for the environment must be a priority for both companies and individuals. All gestures count towards achieving sustainable development. Sacyr has taken on this commitment of respecting the environment and promotes it among its employees, whom it has always encouraged to innovate in this regard.

It is therefore understandable that this Christmas the team comprising César Rueda and Benjamín Bondía, from Valoriza Servicios Medioambientales, was the recipient of one of Sacyr’s Natural Innovators awards due to its distinctive initiative to internationalise Sacyr in the area of waste management. Their original project automatically optimises separating glass from waste through specific optical equipment that takes the fullest advantage of any materials that can be reused.

Before going through the optical separators and “given their limited flow”, as Benjamín Bondía stated, the team categorised the material qualitatively and by particle size to obtain a fraction with a high concentration of glass, “which enables greater retrieval efficiency”. Subsequently, other improvements such as introducing sifting equipment using parallel bars have made it possible to retrieve glass by filtering pieces with a flat, smooth and narrow profile, while rejecting unwanted, smaller-sized elements.

More recycling is possible

Together with its innovations in glass recycling, the team has managed to retrieve material for other, alternative uses. In this respect, densimetric systems have been incorporated; they make it possible to distinguish heavy elements, thus obtaining material capable of being exploited as fuel in cement manufacturing. This has also enabled the automatic retrieval of small-sized plastic packaging.

Although a second optical separator has been introduced to reduce the content of infusible material in the end product, Benjamín Bondía stated that the team wants to continue to improve the system and progressively adapt it to new requirements. They are also working on improving material retrieval and exploitation levels at this type of urban waste management plant.

The attitude of Cesar, Benjamín and their team is certainly worthy of being rewarded. They appreciate the prize, because they believe that this type of acknowledgement helps workers to overcome and seek new challenges.