Global warming, climate emergency, resource scarcity, waste accumulation…Recycling has never been so imperative. After the plastic fever and with societies that annually generate millions of tons of waste, different levels of government needed to take waste management seriously and execute a recycling process that allows the economization and recovery of resources. How is this being achieved?
 

The recycling cycle

The recycling process is not simple at all. This is a cycle in which multiple actors are involved, and where all of them have a key role to play for this cycle to be successfully completed. From companies that manufacture a container or compose its material and those that use this container properly marking it; going through the users who purchase and consume the product; to the institutions that structure their management plan for waste that is collected and treated in selection plants and the recycling companies.
 
Specifically, the recycling cycle can be summarized in five stages:
  1. The starting point is the consumer who, beyond reducing consumption or reusing what they already have (2 of the 3 Rs of recycling), acts by recycling the generated waste classifying it according to the type of waste and depositing it in the corresponding container.
  2. The recycling cycle has started, and the waste is being collected for treatment. Depending on the established organization in every city or community, the most common type of recyclable waste is directly collected from the containers located on all streets. Others must be taken to authorized points.
  3. Recyclable waste arrives at the selection plants, where it is classified and processed.
  4. The classified and compacted material is sent to the recycling plants, where they generate new useful raw material from it.
  5. Recycled materials are marketed for the manufacture of new products. The recycling cycle starts again.
 

Types of recycling

The yellow bin is for tetrabriksplastic containers and cans; the blue one, for paper and cardboard; the green bin is for glass; and the brown one for organic biodegradable waste. The rest of the waste goes to the grey bin (which is commonly known as non-recyclable). And there is a sixth colour, red, perhaps less known by the ordinary citizen, for ‘dangerous’ waste. Each of these materials has a specific recycling plant. But there are also other plants that process and recycle other materials collected at other waste sorting points, such as electronic components, metals or even clothing.

Even by just processing the information about waste classification, one already understands the complexity of its management. The material determines both the selection and the recycling process. The use of innovative technologies at both points (until very recently most of the material sorting was done manually) is providing better results. Inspection, selection and materials’ quality control through Artificial Intelligence, 100% automated processes, real-time access to statistics...The ideal recycling cycle that was being pursued is now a reality.
 

PICVISA, active in the transformation of waste management

Since PICVISA created the first ECOGLASS prototype in 2005, the company has been expanding its catalogue of innovative solutions for the selection and classification of recycling materials.

With the mission of developing this type of technology while continuously improving the product in order to offer the best solution at all times, the company works every day to be one of the global references in the supply of separation and optical classification equipment for the recovery of valuable materials and the provision of an excellent after-sales service for customers.

Currently, PICVISA’s catalogue includes the ECOGLASS, ECOPACK and ECOPICK machines and the deep learning solution BRAIN BY PICVISA. The company has the PICVISA Test Center in Calaf (Barcelona), an 800 m2 plant where one can check and confirm the performance and production of their products in real operating conditions.
 
Did you know…?
-    With 8 cereal boxes, you can make a book
-    Six milk cartons equal a shoe box
-    With 40 PET bottles, a polar fleece is manufactured
-    A bicycle tire is fabricated from 80 soda cans


 
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