Ardagh's remeltable glass briquettes win Sustainability Award
Ardagh has won a Sustainability Award in the inaugural 'Pre-Commercialized Innovation' category for its method of producing remeltable briquettes from the fine particle glass rejected during the recycling process, allowing 100% of recycled glass to be remelted into new glass bottles and jars.
The rejected glass makes up 10% of glass collected for recycling and is currently unusable in glass manufacture because it contains loose organics and CSP (ceramic, stone and porcelain) which can cause blistering in new containers. It is typically diverted to road aggregate or is lost to landfill and can never be recovered.
Driven by the goal to maximise cullet recovery for remelt, Ardagh worked with various partners to develop the recipe and method to produce briquettes from the rejected glass, which can be melted safely in the furnace without any adverse effects - closing the recycling loop.
The award attracted 63 entries from across the world and was narrowed down to the top 5 in Packaging Europe's online awards event. On being announced the winner, Brendan O'Meara from Ardagh's European Glass Cullet team commented: "We're incredibly proud to win the Sustainability Award, particularly with such strong competition. The potential of the briquettes to recover 100% of collected glass for remelt is a significant achievement. Special thanks go to Stewart Wright at Wright Engineering and Professor Paul Bingham at Sheffield Hallam University for their incredible support and expertise."
Ardagh's Chief Sustainability Officer, John Sadlier, added, "We are delighted to receive recognition for this particularly important project that supports us in achieving our ambitious sustainability targets. We hope the additional cullet available as briquettes will help to achieve the ultimate objective of 95% cullet and 5% raw materials within the glass batch, reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the furnace."
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.