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Pro Environmental Limited chooses TOMRA’s AUTOSORT™ technology for its new plastic packaging sorting plant in Nottinghamshire

Pro Environmental Ltd, post winning a bid, invests in TOMRA Recycling Sorting's cutting-edge equipment for their new £15M plastic sorting facility.

Following a competitive tender, PET bottle recycling specialist, Pro Environmental Limited, has invested in advanced sensor-based sorting equipment from TOMRA Recycling Sorting for its brand-new £15 million plastic packaging sorting facility at Calverton in Nottinghamshire which opened in late May 2023. Pro Environmental recently relocated to this new, central location and refocused its business model on the sorting and recovery of higher purity plastic streams for both the wash-plant and PET manufacturing sectors. 

​With a full PRF system which includes a series of AUTOSORT™ units, Pro Environmental has also refocused its expertise to offer a PET flake purification service by utilising two AUTOSORT™ FLAKE units which support the PET manufacturing sector in obtaining higher quality feedstock. 

Pro Environmental Limited’s new 50,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) sorting plant has been in development for the past two years. Six of TOMRA’s world-renowned AUTOSORT™ optical sorters have been installed to recover the target fractions of natural PET, PET Jazz, PET trays, HDPE original, HDPE Jazz, Polypropylene (PP), 3D residues and 2D residues. Once recovered and baled, the exceptionally high-grade recycled rPET products are sold onto the food and beverage sector, with all product remaining in the UK.​

Six AUTOSORT units sort the materials by polymer and colour

The new facility’s infeed is primarily mixed plastics packaging material from the UK. 60-70% will come directly from local authorities and the remainder will be sourced through traders, agents, transfer stations or from the overflow material at other MRFs where no advanced sorting is in place.

When the material arrives at the Calverton plant, the bales are opened and the ballistic separators to separate the waste into 2D and 3D fractions. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals are then recovered, and the material passes through manual quality control for inspection before entering the main plant and onto the sensor-based sorting stage using the six AUTOSORT™ units to sort the materials by polymer and colour. 

​TOMRA’s AUTOSORT™ unit is an ideal solution for automated recycling. It combines a variety of leading-edge features in one machine with a flexible sensor configuration for a future-proof sorting system that meets the challenges of a dynamic market landscape. The sorting unit delivers exceptional performance and operational efficiency thanks to its homogeneous light distribution for improved detection and monitoring across the entire belt width. 

Jack Welsh, Director at Pro Environmental Limited, comments: “We have established a very good working relationship with TOMRA over the past five years. We’ve been very happy with the level of service and support, as well as the high quality of the machinery. TOMRA’s experts were involved in the planning process for our new plant, looking at throughputs and the types of polymers we wanted to sort. They have given us excellent advice and are always available at the end of a phone if ever we need them. In this industry, it’s very much a tonnage game. Margins are getting cut all the time, so automation is undoubtedly the way forward. We’d never be able to achieve the required rPET quality standards and throughput with manual picking. What we’ve been able to achieve with TOMRA’s equipment in terms of throughput and purity levels has exceeded our expectations. We’re excited about what the future holds for our business and are delighted to have TOMRA on board as our technology partner to support us as we continue to grow.”  

​Steven Walsh, Area Sales Manager UK at TOMRA Recycling Sorting, adds: “Our latest generation AUTOSORT® units incorporate highly sophisticated sensor-based sorting technology which consistently delivers outstanding results. Our technology, combined with Pro Environmental’s drive to close the gap on polymer circularity, has resulted in a great partnership. I’ve really enjoyed the journey over the last five years to get to this point and I’m delighted to see Pro Environmental embracing and benefitting from our technology.”    


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