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Glass recovery – resource or waste?

How can we compare global mining giants with the local recycling operator?  Global commodity prices, distance to market, cost of operation and maximizing productivity are common threads that we all pull at whilst weaving a sustainable business.

In almost every case, producing resources for any market involves juggling the right levels  of production and quality in order to give ourselves a competitive offering.  At some stage  every operator considers what economical options are available to upgrade the resource so a premium price may be obtained or to simply offer a product more attractive than the competitor. This is the case whether we are supplying Iron Ore to  Asian steel makers or marketing recyclables captured from your own wheely bin.

For Resource Recovery Operators there can often be a fine line between resource and a waste stream. Glass is one of those commodities that often waivers first above and then below the line. A product that is almost infinitely recyclable can be the most difficult and costly to deal with across all streams of waste. Glass is most often seen as a contaminant in food waste, green waste and recyclables, prompting wildly varying means of separation and treatment. Given the cost of separation, ( particularly fine particle)  distance to market and the price paid for cullet, the more entrepreneurial companies are focusing on low cost recovery and the development of niche markets for which recovered glass can be offered.

Low cost recovery and treatment of glass is a capability McLanahan Corporation has perfected over many years. By leveraging 180 years of experience processing and  separating minerals, metals and sands around the globe  we are able to offer our customer and small footprint, relocate-able wash system. Similar equipment and processes can be used to size and separate glass or remove organics, paper and plastics from the stream.

Of course the challenge with glass is the inclusion of nutrients in the form of syrups and sugars which can be problematic when used as sand replacement products.  The ideal option is to design a low energy system which allows the operator to wash and size sand in the same system. Wet processing is the most common means of processing in the resource sector world wide and whilst not widely used in resource recovery, it offers a more efficient option for nutrient removal than heat. Much higher volumes can be treated in a wash plant than other treatment systems.

McLanahan provides a closed loop plant that washes pathogens and nutrients from the glass as well as taking a size cut in the same process. Drip free glass is delivered to stockpiles via high frequency dewatering screens providing product dry enough to be transportable within 2 – 3 hours.

Water is delivered from onsite storage tanks and is recycled via a unique in-line treatment system so the same water can be used over again.

Environmental considerations as well as commercial pressures will always shape the decisions around how we treat specific resources. In the mining world, there is always the possibility that the best decision is to leave the resource in the ground. A luxury that does not exist for the humble waste and recycling operator. Innovation, pragmatism and an entrepreneurial spirit are the keys to a sustainable business in this space.

Meet Chris Knowles

Chris is the Director of Sales and Marketing in Australia and Asia Pac.

Chris provides consultations and manages sales for our entire range of equipment, spanning multiple industries.

For any information relating to our services or to arrange a consultation onsite, please contact Chris.

Phone: +61 400 051 555
Email: cknowles@mclanahan.com.au