At Indaver in Willebroek, non-hazardous waste that has been collected selectively is treated with a view to maximising recycling and useful application. This involves the following:
- Sorting and pressing PMD (Plastic packaging, Metal packaging, Drinks cartons)
- Sorting and pressing plastics
- Transferring paper and cardboard
- Transferring industrial and bulky waste
- Transferring household waste
- Pre-treating difficult-to-recycle plastics for chemical recycling
Indaver Plastics Recycling nv (IPR) is responsible for the transfer, pre-treatment and sorting operations. The offices are located at the Indaver site in Willebroek.
Indaver Logistics nv handles the transport of non-hazardous waste. The offices, vehicle fleet and container park of Indaver Logistics are located at the Indaver site in Willebroek.
Indaver Logistics serves customers all over Belgium and also has a number of customers in Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Indaver Plastics Recycling (IPR) sorts the selectively collected household packaging waste, better known as PMD (Plastic packaging, Metal packaging, Drinks cartons), of 3 million residents of Flanders in a high-tech PMD sorting facility. On an annual basis, the new PMD facility treats 65,000 tonnes of waste, but its capacity can still be increased.
The PMD waste includes:
- all forms of plastic packaging such as bottles, flasks, hard plastic packaging, trays and plastic films, salad bags, mushroom containers or the film around multipacks of water and milk, polystyrene packaging and PET trays
- metal packaging such as tin cans, aluminium trays, drinks cans and aerosols from foods and cosmetics
- drinks cartons
The sorting line sorts household packaging waste in several machine steps. With the backing of manual quality checks at the end of the process, this facility produces 16 clean streams. These sorted packaging materials serve as valuable raw materials for new products. The residues are transported to another facility where, after intense sorting, they are converted into sources of energy for non-specialised incinerators such as cement kilns and lime kilns.
Every year, the facility in Willebroek treats 65,000 tonnes of PMD waste from public authorities that collect it via 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.
IPR sorts PMD waste on behalf of Fost Plus. Fost Plus is the central organisation responsible for the selective collection, sorting and recycling of household packaging waste in Belgium. Fost Plus works closely with Indaver’s sorting centre in Willebroek. This is also the organisation that defines the specific characteristics of PMD waste and the quality requirements for outgoing material streams. IPR weighs and labels the bales (with information such as sorting centre name, material type, date and the shift that was working at the time) so that the materials are traceable at all times.
Indaver has worked with Fost Plus to investigate whether artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to monitor the quality of the sorted materials. If sorted materials are scanned for sorting errors at the end of the process, a visual inspection of the quality of the bales becomes unnecessary. That information may also be useful for special scanners. Through machine learning, they will become even better at recognising materials on the belt and the sorting process will become even more precise.
Read more on this topic: Artificial Intelligence as a tool for analysing sorting quality - Fost Plus
Recyclable plastics from industry, such as plastic films, bags, big bags, plastic offcuts and monostreams of hard plastics are pre-treated (sorting, reducing, pressing) by IPR for recycling. Any interfering substances are removed from the incoming loads.
Difficult-to-recycle plastics from PMD waste (from our own facility and from other production or sorting facilities) will first be pre-treated at Indaver’s site in Willebroek before being treated further at our new Plastics2Chemicals facility in Antwerp. The first stage involves both polystyrene and polyolefins that require further treatment. Using chemical recycling in our P2C facility, these plastics will be broken down into valuable raw materials for industry.
Construction of the pre-treatment plant will start in 2023. By 2024, the plant should be ready for operation.
Paper and cardboard, industrial waste, bulky waste and household waste are also transferred at this site.
The household waste delivered is transferred in Willebroek and taken away to Indaver facilities for further treatment. From the incoming bulky and industrial waste, a number of streams are sorted and removed for further specific treatment. These include scrap, films and paper, etc.
Indaver takes care of safety, the environment and health. Guidelines have been drawn up for contractors, visitors, suppliers and drivers to ensure the efficient supply and removal of materials and to maintain vigilance over everyone’s safety.
In 2020, we built a completely new, state-of-the-art facility for optimal sorting of household packaging waste. PMD sorting centres and their sorters play an important role in the recycling chain. The cleaner the sorted materials are, the more efficient the recycling process and the higher the quality of the recycled end products.
On a daily basis, the production coordinator carries out a visual quality check on the composition of the various sorted fractions. Samples of the residues are also taken to ascertain the efficiency of the sorting process.
Independently of this, periodic quality checks are also initiated by Fost Plus and carried out by an accredited inspection agency.
In Willebroek, there are solar panels spanning 4,000 m2 on the roof of the new PMD sorting facility. Together with the wind turbine on site they enable us to meet our own energy needs. When there is a surplus, we supply energy to the grid. When there is not enough wind or sun, we take energy from the grid.
We always endeavour to limit the impact of all our operations on our surroundings.
To counteract odour pollution, the household waste brought in is disposed of within a period of one week. The trucks are loaded indoors whenever possible, preventing any odour pollution during handling.