Aluminium from household trash is being reused

Companies around Europe have started to work with resource recovery from bottom ashes (bottom ashes are the leftovers after burning of our household trash). In Denmark we have Afatek, one of the market leaders in the recovery of resources focused on development and optimisation of processes.

In November we had the chance to visit the facilities to see the process they have developed to recover aluminium and close the recycling loop. The visit was a very interesting and eye-opening experience where we learned some new things. For example did we learn that our aluminium packaging is being recycled and can be reused, even without being sorted. Household trash is being burned and the bottom ashes are transported to companies like Afatek. Afatek can then sort these bottom ashes and recover even the tiniest pieces of aluminium. 

World class sorting plant

Since 2011 Afatek is developing and optimising processes of resource recovery. Their plant in Copenhagen is unique and one of the market leaders in the industry.

The Semi-Dry concept

1. Household waste is collected for burning
2. The leftovers after burning are called bottom ashes
3. Afatek collects the bottom ashes
4. The ashes are stored in big piles and dried down to 10-15% H2O
5. Then, they are run through their sorting plant and sorted by size from big pots and pans down to 0,5mm pieces
6. After sorting, the aluminium can be reused in for example construction or bikes

Some further impressions from our visit.

Afatek waste sorting, aluminium recycling Here you can see the mountains of bottom ash that are in process of being dried down. Fine metals can be recovered only if the water content is as  low as 10-15%. 
Afatek waste sorting, aluminium recycling Around the plant there are different exits from the conveyor band which is sorting the ashes into different sizes.
Afatek waste sorting, aluminium recycling, slagger In the piles with bigger pieces you can for example see coins, keys, cutlery and nails.


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