Recovering Plastics From The Waste Stream

Posted on: 10 August 2022

The hot topic of plastics recycling is not going away any time soon, and rightly so. It’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure plastics are sorted, collected, recovered, and recycled, but the bulk of the work typically still falls to the waste operator.

Utilising air-based technology to conduct waste sorting tasks is in huge demand due to its cost-effective and efficient technique which is why it is being selected for use in many recycling facilities around the world, saving thousands of tonnes of recyclable plastics, and other materials, ending in landfill.

Air-based sorting solutions

Air-based material recovery solutions from industry experts, Impact Air Systems, are leading the way with various options to suit a wide range of plastic applications. The Impact Film Vacuum System and Airlift solution, removes plastic bags, films from the waste stream, and bales them with a screw compactor system. Zigzag separation provides an efficient and effective solution to remove dust, debris, and fibres from rigid WEEE plastic, granules, and flakes to provide a more valuable product for recycling. Impact’s Pneumatic Conveying System seamlessly transports plastic bottles and containers through the facility via a ductwork system to external storage containers or bunkers.


The examples below show the variation of plastic materials that can be recovered along with the alternate use of air-based technology to achieve resource recovery.

Increased material value

Enva Resource Recovery, in Bourne, Lincolnshire, operates a plastic recycling system to recycle household rigid plastic material and plastic car components, and needed to further improve the quality of the HDPE and PP granules by removing the lightweight fibres and debris.

The facility consists of a shredder, metal removal process, granulator and finally a plastic grade segregation process. The finished product is then collected into two tonne storage sacks for resale.

Impact Air Systems installed a Zigzag separation system to improve the quality of the final product by removing the light fibres and debris from the final material stream to boost its resale value.

The Impact Zigzag Air Classifier (ZAC), Air Drum Separator and Pneumatic Transfer system were also installed to recover the plastics from the WEEE material to divert it from landfill and increase its resale value.


The perfect collaboration

Impact worked with CP Manufacturing and MSS Optical, USA on a process improvement project in Calgary, Canada providing a solution to remove plastic film and bags from the material stream.

As quality demands are heightened, our client selected optical separation quality control along with the Impact Plastic Film Airlift solution, to ensure higher quality waste streams are achieved.

Air technology at its best

Impact’s Plastic Film Airlift is an innovative solution designed to work in conjunction with optical sorters to capture film that has been rejected from the material stream by the optical sorter air injection.

Flexible plastics captured by the Airlift are discharged from the conveying air stream via the rotary separator and deposited into the bunker below, removing the contaminant material at high volume, enabling it to be recycled.

Plastic film airlift solution to remove plastic from the waste stream  Plastic Film Airlift on Optical Sorters  Plastic Film Airlift on Optical Sorters

Quality benefits

Impact’s solutions ensure higher quality material streams along with increased revenue from recovered recyclable materials. They also greatly assist the operator in achieving zero waste targets while encouraging the circularity of plastics aiding the transition towards a circular economy.

Impact Air Systems continues to provide support to the recycling industry with air-based technology solutions to enhance the operations of any waste management facilities or waste sorting centres, large or small.



To discuss your plastic separation requirements, contact our specialists on +44(0)116 2448855 or email


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