There is an increasing range of that are also suitable for non-source-separated biodegradable municipal waste (BMW). The trend now being to raise organic waste recycling to ever-higher percentages to both avoid this material going to landfill and to comply with the COP26 pledges made by so many nations to decarbonise their economies.

The purity of source-separated organics (SSO) is always going to be less than 100%, and in certain circumstances much less, regardless of how well-trained personnel are in source separation of food wastes.

Packaging is mechanically separated from organic waste in these systems. The packaging is collected and feeds a compactor and is disposed of, or if possible, it is recycled. Organic waste is either collected in tankers or goes directly into a digester or is used in composting facilities.

The best Food Waste Depackaging Systems reliably and quickly separate organic from non-organic packaging materials, including packaging materials such as plastics and paper. They are ideal for converting waste from the food processing industry, supermarket and restaurant waste streams, and any other food items suitable for recycling, into a profitable, value-added product.

Depackaging Machines and Separation

The task for de-packaging machines and the associated separation equipment is to first of all to:

  • create a pure organic output of material the consistency of pulp, or a thick soup
  • a reject stream that is as clean and free from water content as possible.

The reject stream will contain varying amounts of packaging, but for the majority of food waste and mechanically separated organic content such as BMW (also known as OFMSW) a large proportion will be plastic in some form.

Avoiding the presence of moisture in the reject stream is important as moisture-laden content invariably contains calorific organic material which every biogas plant or compost facility operator will want to see in the pulp where it produces biogas – the source of profit for the plant operator.

Depackaging Machines separate the outside containers (wrappings) from the contents inside of the food box, packet, tin, drum, sacket etc., thereby making it possible to recover or recycle organic waste from the fate of being sent as waste to landfills. The issue of the need to avoid the waste of food has become increasingly common among businesses and councils globally.

Even source-separated food waste cannot go directly into the biogas production process/ biogas digester due to the amount of plastic present. Whether it be householders who discard the waste or catering facilities there is always plastic packaging present which would have a negative effect on digestion if allowed to remain.

All packaging containers must be opened before they go into a digester tank and the water content in both the pulp and the rejects (plastics and other material) outputs need to be low. All these requirements are critical to getting suitable food waste material into the digester tanks of an plant.

Types of Food Waste Depackaging Systems

There are many designs of food waste depackaging systems: some use a hammermill and others use a shredding machine. Others use paddles, and yet more have a squashing and squeezing action. The depackaging scene is rather like the early days of the motor car.

Each make of car was very different to start with. Motor cars gradually became more similar until today when technological evolution brought us to the point that each car has a combustion engine and the foot pedals, steering wheel, and clutch are universally the same. It will be the same for the repackaging industry one day, but for now, the systems used for it vary greatly.

A hammermill breaks and smashes everything into small pieces, using a lot of energy. The rotating hammers open the packaging of food waste and break apart all materials, leaving only the organic material available to be strained out. The only problem is that having broken everything so small there is a lot of microplastic which is the resulting mash. That’s the worst kind of plastic to sort and reprocess and the most damaging type of plastic to the environment and for wildlife in particular.

Food Waste Depackaging Machines

We think that an important property of depackaging machines is that they should not rely on the strategy seen in the early equipment. No longer should it be seen as acceptable to use size reduction as acceptable, due to the environmentally hazardous action of raising microplastic content which is likely, at least in part, to end up in the environment.

Food waste depackaging equipment should do the opposite of breaking things up small.  It should utilize multiple characteristics and less brutal forces to break open packages. Alternating tensile and compressive forces of the centrifuge and vortex action are two of the means that are used to break open the containers in the latest models of this equipment.

These forces can be used in combination to separate solid and liquid materials (for example restaurant waste). The process of using these different characteristics and switches in a food waste depackaging machine can also improve the efficiency of the subsequent AD plants and IVC (In-vessel Composting) operations.

Image text: "Food Waste Depackaging Systems".

Less Fragmented Packaging

The latest generation of purpose-designed multi-action food waste depackaging machines is designed to reduce the amount of fragmented packaging. The rotating paddles and flails help break up the packages. The flails and paddles carry the empty packages along the processing chamber’s upper side and the rejects can be ejected from the output point using water or air.

If you have a composting facility that handles similar wastes, these machines may be well worth the investment because they can cut contamination removal expenses while also creating new tipping fee opportunities for industrial food product depackaging and recycling.

In the best models more robust packaging, such as jars of peanut butter in plastic containers packed within a cardboard box, will be totally depackaged as the horizontal processing chamber progresses further down the length. In order to depackage food wastes, a turbo Separator does not require the addition of water in order to liquefy the food.

What is Energy Recovery from SSO?

It is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials and packaging into usable energy such as heat, electricity, or fuel that is known as energy recovery from municipal waste. This can be accomplished through a variety of processes including combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas recovery.

The Cleanaway Separator

The new food waste depackaging system developed by Cleanaway separates liquid and organic material ready for anaerobic digestion. The machines’ rotating cylinder at its heart uses paddles to open and move the packages along and out of the top of the chamber. If the packaging is durable, it will be depackaged by splitting and vibration in some machines helps to shed persistent stuck-on food.

This is a great option for processing large volumes of packaged food including restaurant waste. The depackaging machines have a wide range of capabilities and are compact and maintenance-free. The technology helps in the recovery of valuable organic materials.

The Cleanaway unit in Victoria processes ten tonnes of packaged food waste an hour. The unit is capable of recovering up to 99% of the material. Glass is not processed through the unit. The process takes place in a separate chamber, where a squeezing action causes the packaging to break. Once separated, the remaining materials are disposed of via anaerobic digestion. This method saves landfill space and reduces landfill carbon dioxide and methane emissions. If you have a depackaging unit, it will be the most efficient way to recycle your packaging.

Scott Equipment

Food waste depackaging machines manufactured by Scott Equipment use a horizontally configured chamber with rotating paddles and flails. These rotating blades break down the packaging at 400 rpm. The SSO Model is a horizontally configured machine that uses a hammer to break open the empty packages. These units are available in two different capacities. One unit has a 40-ton capacity while the other is a smaller one that can process source-separated organics and BMWat a lower flow rate.

The Dominator is another marque responsible for depackaging waste and separating plastic containers and plastic bottles from the contents of the containers and bottles.

Other Machines Used for Depackaging and Separation

Keeping food products out of landfills can be a difficult task, especially given the fact that many meals are packaged tightly, and some pots and punnets are very small.

A number of food waste depackaging machines combine a hammer and then a screw press to separate the pulp and the solids from packaged foods. In addition to using a hammer, a depackaging machine may use a combination of physical materials-characteristics to select and sort the incoming items. For example, a hammermill may be fed via a counter-rotating dual-auger mixing/feeding hopper and separate the liquid from the solid material (fibres) with a horizontal or vertical-pressure screw press.

It may use a single characteristic to break the package while using a different set of selectors to empty the packages.

Twister Depackager by Drycake

The Twister by Drycake also uses multiple characteristics to separate the recyclable organic fraction. While this may sound complicated, it’s essential for efficient recycling. The most flexible machines use several combinations of these variables to depackage all the different types of packaging used for food.

Separated packaging can then be shipped to a recycling facility or sold as RDF, resulting in even greater waste reduction while also providing the option for other revenue streams to be generated.

This equipment can depackage a wide range of wet and dry waste materials, including food, pharmaceutical, and municipal trash, as well as tetra packs, tin cans, and plastic bottles.

Tiger Machine

The Tiger machine is a leading food waste depackaging machine. It can be the front end of the AD process. There are many reference sites using the Tiger in the UK and is supported by its UK dealer, Blue Group. Parts for the Tiger machine are available same-day or next-day for immediate delivery.

There are no long intervals between the need for maintenance or repair for the machine, and it can be operated by a team of workers and training is available in any language.

Food Waste Depackaging Systems a Conclusion

Food waste depackaging equipment is used to separate the solid organic material from the packaging. The best equipment can also be used for BMW and OFMSW separation.

There is progress away from a strategy of reducing the particle size of the incoming food waste toward less destructive methods which aim to avoid microplastics being produced. Wherever possible the latest equipment strives to keep film bags and each packet almost whole and in one piece. While often items ejected aren’t whole, they are in multiple pieces instead of pulverised into indistinguishable shreds and flakes.

Modern equipment uses various types of selector properties and characteristics to separate the organic fraction. Without good depackaging and separation, the organic material cannot be removed. Without these machines, plastic packaging cannot be recycled, so food waste depackaging machines are vital for the plastic recycling industry. Not only useful for the AD process the new generation of these units also help IVC composting facilities accept packaged food.

With the latest technology, the process can be more streamlined, require less labour to supervise this equipment, and be more efficient. At the same time, the new equipment helps the environment. Check out the full list of food waste depackaging and separation equipment suppliers.

Food Waste Depackaging Systems Also Suitable for Biodegradable Municipal Waste

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