Geminor increases recycling rate by robot sorting

Source: press release, 31 August 2021

The robot plant performs 6,000 picks per hour and can be ‘trained’ to sort all the important types of waste for recycling
The robot plant performs 6,000 picks per hour and can be ‘trained’ to sort all the important types of waste for recycling (photo: Geminor)

Geminor and inter-municipal waste company Renovasjon i Grenland (RIG) have entered into an agreement for the handling of up to 35 000 tonnes of waste over a period of 5 years. The waste will be sorted into several recyclable categories in Norway’s newest robot sorting plant.

Geminor recently signed an agreement to handle and treat approximately 7,000 tonnes of residual waste annually for the inter-municipal waste company Renovasjon i Grenland (RIG). The contract starts on 1 September and will last until the autumn of 2023, with an option for another 3 years.

The waste will be transported from RIG’s four municipal waste stations in the region of Grenland, to Geminor’s partner in the project, Bjorstaddalen Næring AS outside the city of Skien. Here, the waste will be sorted into several recyclable fractions in one of Scandinavia’s most modern robot sorting facilities.

Head of project and Account & Development Manager at Geminor, Leif Neverdahl, explains, “The waste is transported to Bjorstaddalen in gas-powered trucks before the robot sorting plant carries out a detailed sorting: Using infrared sensors and gripping arms, waste such as wood, cardboard, stone, metal, plastic, and ceramics are sorted into separate areas. Of the annual 7,000 tonnes of waste, only about 2,000 tonnes of residual waste will remain that cannot be recycled.”

The use of a robot sorting plant offers several advantages. “The robot sorting creates completely pure and cleaner fractions that improve the final treatment of materials – whether the waste goes to material recycling or energy recovery. Our goal is to increase the recycling rate and simultaneously improve the quality of the fractions that are used in the production of new products. Thus, robot sorting is a sustainable option in our waste treatment,” says Neverdahl.

The robot plant performs 6,000 picks per hour and can be “trained” to sort all the important types for recycling, says CEO of Bjorstaddalen Næring AS, Sindre Hauen.

“The sensor technology is unique and can identify both shape, colour, and material. In case of new market opportunities – or even regulations – the system can be taught to recognise new types. We want to be in front when it comes to robot sorting and are constantly looking for better solutions in our waste management,” says Hauen at Bjorstaddalen Næring AS in Norway.