Robotic sorting will increase the recycling rate of municipal waste

The resource management company Geminor and the Norwegian waste management company “Renovasjon i Grenland” (RIG) have entered into an agreement for the treatment of up to 35,000 tonnes of residual waste over a period of five years. The waste will be sorted into several recyclable fractions at one of Scandinavia’s newest robotic sorting plants.

Geminor recently signed an agreement to manage and process approx. 7,000 tonnes of municipal waste per year for the intermunicipal waste company Renovasjon i Grenland (RIG) in Norway. The contract begins September 1 and will last until fall 2023, with an option for an additional three years.

The waste will be transported to Geminor’s partner in the project, Bjorstaddalen Næring AS outside the town of Skien. Here, residual waste will be sorted into several recyclable fractions in one of Scandinavia’s most modern robotic sorting facilities.

The robotic factory takes 6000 samples per hour and can be “trained” to sort all the fractions important for recycling

Leif Neverdahl, Project Manager and Account & Development Manager at Geminor, explains. “The waste is transported to Bjorstaddalen in petrol trucks before the robotic sorting plant performs a detailed sorting: using infrared sensors and gripping arms, waste such as wood, cardboard, stone, metal, plastic and ceramics are sorted into separate fractions. Of the 7,000 tonnes of waste per year, only around 2,000 tonnes of non-recyclable residual waste will be left, ”says Neverdahl.

Better sorting means better use of materials. “There are several advantages to using a robotic sorting system,” explains Leif Neverdahl. “Robotic sorting creates completely pure and cleaner fractions that improve the final processing of materials, whether the waste is destined for material recycling or energy recovery. Our goal is to increase the recycling rate and simultaneously improve the quality of the fractions used in the manufacture of new products. Thus, robotic sorting is a sustainable option in our waste treatment, ”explains Leif Neverdahl.

“The robotic factory takes 6,000 samples per hour and can be ‘trained’ to sort all fractions important for recycling,” says Sindre Hauen, CEO of Bjorstaddalen Næring AS. “The sensor technology is unique and can identify both shape, color and material. In the event of new market opportunities – or even regulations – the system can learn to recognize new fractions. We want to be at the forefront of robotic sorting and are constantly looking for better solutions for our waste management, ”says Sindre Hauen from Bjorstaddalen Næring AS in Norway.

Melissa C. Keyes