Selective collection is a common practice in many countries. However, even in some of those countries there are recyclable materials, like packaging glass, erroneously deposited in the Mixed Municipal Solid Waste (MMSW). In the present paper, a solution is proposed to recover glass from the inert reject of Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) plants treating MMSW aiming at its recycling. The inert reject of MBT (MBTr) plants is characterized by its small particle size and high heterogeneity. The study was made with three real samples of diverse characteristics superimposed mainly by the different upstream MBT. One of the samples (VN) had a high content in organics (approximately 50%) and a particle size smaller than 16. mm. The other two were coarser and exhibited similar particle size distribution but one (RE) was rich in glass (almost 70%) while the other (SD) contained about 40% in glass. A flowsheet was developed integrating drying, to eliminate moisture related with organic matter contamination; magnetic separation, to separate remaining small ferrous particles; vacuum suction, to eliminate light materials; screening, to eliminate the finer fraction that has a insignificant content in glass, and to classify the >6. mm fraction in 6-16. mm and >16. mm fractions to be processed separately; separation by particle shape, in the RecGlass equipment specifically designed to eliminate stones; and optical sorting, to eliminate opaque materials. A pilot plant was built and the tests were conducted with the three samples separately. With all samples, it was possible to attain approximately 99% content in glass in the glass products, but the recovery of glass was related with the feed particle size. The finer the feed was, the lower the percentage of glass recovered in the glass product. The results show that each one of the separation processes was needed for product enrichment. The organic matter recovered in the glass product was high, ranging from 0.76% to 1.13%, showing that drying was not sufficient in the tests but that it is a key process for the success of the operation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Year of publication: 2015