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Shredder numbers unchanged – but what about used capacity?

Photo: Lindner

Worldwide there are currently 1157 big shredders in operation, according to the latest World Shredder List, presented during an online session by the Bureau of International Recycling. The USA has 322 shredders, Europe 300, the rest of the world 535, numbers that have been quite static compared to previous update in May 2019.

These figures are claimed to still be accurate but some may be ‘a little less’ due to recent shutdowns, commented BIR Shredder Committee chairman Alton-Scott Newell III of Newell Recycling Equipment in the USA.

Even so, scrap input shrank dramatically due to the pandemic, obviously having major impact on used shredder capacity. During the peak of the pandemic, shredders at some facilities were either not in operation or running time was cut by 50% and often more, Recycling International has learned.

‘Another’ new normal

The online event also featured technology experts, including Karl Hoffmann of magnetic & sensor sorting solutions provider Steinert. According to Hoffmann, the quality of scrap is becoming more important in these challenging times. ‘Asia’s scrap import bans have resulted in a “new normal”, I believe coronavirus will lead to another new normal where smart recovery and material purity are becoming more leading then ever before.’

Steinert is ambitiously working towards what Hoffmann describes as ‘the next stage of purification’. One recent example is the application of x-ray technology to filter higher percentages of magnesium from aluminium scrap.

Safety first! 

The BIR Shredder Committee is ‘very excited’ about its first-ever membership survey into shredder-related incidents and injuries. The questionnaire will be conducted at the start of every year to collate useful data from the previous 12 months.

In creating the survey, BIR got help from Chris Bedell, senior vice president at The David J. Joseph Company, a big recycler in the US. During the BIR Convention in Barcelona two years ago, Bedell highlighted some of the key findings of an analysis of shredder facility incidents within his own business, with data having revealed that some 75% of accidents were connected to maintenance operations.

The BIR survey is targeted at those companies operating shredders of more than 1000 HP and can be completed via desktop/laptop computer or smartphone, added BIR Trade & Environment Director Ross Bartley.

All the information provided by members will be treated confidentially, says BIR, and the data will be aggregated to provide a deeper understanding of risks within shredder operations. BIR hopes for the widest possible participation in the survey in order to maximise its effectiveness as an information tool in countering injuries.

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