by Pieter Eenkema van Dijk
If you are a traditional paper recycler that, over the years, has evolved into a residential single stream recycler, this article is for you.
You probably recognize that the following trends in your community are playing a significant role in the changing of the incoming material stream. First, the percentage of ONP in the inbound stream seems to drop on a daily basis. Fewer and fewer newspapers are being read as more and more people get their news instantly from the internet.
Second, at the same time, there is an ever increasing percentage of North American workers that are telecommuting from their homes and generating white paper in their home offices.
Third, junk mail is a part of virtually every residential single stream program in the country.
All these trends validate your thoughts that there are still high amounts of white paper out there for Sorted Office Pack recovery, it’s just all mixed in with the residential single stream. You probably walk by your tipping floor pile every day and notice more and more white paper in the stream. And you think to yourself, we need to capture that! But how can you make an SOP grade from your single stream without slowing the throughput of your existing system, without emptying the bunkers to make a different end product, and without using a large amount of labor to process it?
Make it a priority for your entire organization to be become “SOP hunters.” Have your sales personnel look for potential commercial white paper generators and tie them together to create an SOP route. Have your scale house personnel ask questions about where the route comes from, searching for any potential white paper rich loads.
Your tipping floor management becomes a key player. Your personnel must make it a priority to visually inspect each tipped load to gauge the percentage of potential SOP in each.Have them segregate the loads with higher white content into a separate tipping floor pile. Separate all of these loads that you receive that are rich in white paper and process them on a separate small system.
Look to USA Hauling and Recycling in Bridgeport, CT. They run these loads on a separate commercial system that fits into a very small building footprint. USA’s facility is automatically recovering 95% of all OCC (large and small) and over 80% of all SOP (also automatically) via their new Bollegraaf sorting system. The system uses a combination of LUBO screening technology and TITECH optical sorting technology. The LUBO style OCC screen with rubber starscreen design typically allows 15-20% less small OCC to fall through the screen as compared to OCC screens using steel type discs. That is a big deal, considering the value of OCC is significantly higher than mixed paper.
Their first TITECH optical sorter recognizes and ejects any remaining small browns from the stream and blends them in with the large cardboard that made it over the OCC screen. The second TITECH sorter recognizes and positively ejects the white paper from the remaining mix paper/container stream, making a very clean and sellable SOP. USA’s operation generates three grades of paper (OCC, mixed paper, and SOP, which they sell for a premium), plus FE and mixed plastics. They do this at a throughput of 17 tons per hour with only four employees total dedicated to the system.