‘SORT-ER: Fulfilment of selected sustainable development goals in the plastic industry – finding a viable solution’

By: Ann-Christin Kessler of Oliver Meier Stenger, Product Development and Innovation, University of Southern Denmark


The SORT-ER concept provides a solution to detect and sort the most common HHW polymers. The innovation focus has been the optimization of the current polymer sorting mechanism.

The concept combines the innovation on the sorting mechanism with an already existing technology for detecting black plastics, MWIR scanning. Additionally, the project shows, that the sorting of black plastics has the potential to increase the total recycling rate of plastics.

Project description

This project aims to develop a new concept solution for black household waste plastic sorting, for future recycling facilities in Denmark, to optimize recycling.

Compared to other black sorters on the market, the developed SORT-ER concept was designed to be able to sort four of the most common plastics found in household waste (PET, PP, PE, PS), whereas conventional sorting solutions only sort two types of plastics simultaneously. By implementing the SORT-ER solution in a recycling facility, iterative cycles or expensive additional sorting setups can be avoided.

An implemented MWIR scanner enables the detection of black plastics by type.

So far, the SORT-ER concept has not been tested and requires prototyping as well as further development. The machine can be rented for a minimum of 2 years by recycling facilities via a subscription payment model. The monthly subscription fee of the SORT-ER machine has been estimated to be 169.500 DKK. The cost of the machine is covered after a 2 year subscription period. A reduction of the subscription fee will be granted to the customers after 2 years. Recycling facilities will be able to sort black polymers with a low initial investment.

PROJECT PLASTIC 2020 finalists: Read about all of the finalists here.

This project is selected as a finalist and will be a part of the PROJECT PLASTIC 2020 award show on Plastic Engineering Day, October 29 from 12-16.

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