France – A new shredder residue processing plant run by Metaufer of France is said to enable pollution-free dry sorting and recovery of plastics and metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The Erstein-based processing line has swapped chemical flotation in baths by a system relying on sensors, infrared recognition, sieves and fans. ‘Our system uses the physical properties of materials, such as magnetism, density or size,’ says Metaufer’s CEO Philippe Gadouleau. The process ejects the target materials of aluminium, brass, lead, zinc and copper at a claimed purity level of 95%. Final sorting is effected by a workforce of seven.
Metaufer has put in a request to the Regional Council of Alsace for financial assistance to help develop this new undertaking. The site at Erstein has an annual capacity of 8000 tonnes; it is expected that complementary materials will be sorted at a second site in Strasbourg.
The company, which employs 28 people in total, hopes to increase its turnover by 20% through processing complex waste. ‘The cost of dry sorting is less than the way of flotation,’ says Mr Gadouleau. ‘When the copper price will be the highest, we will process copper.’