A Sorting System for Improving the Quality of Recycled PET Plastic Resins

EPA Contract Number: 68D60050
Title: A Sorting System for Improving the Quality of Recycled PET Plastic Resins
Investigators: Sommer, Edward J.
Small Business: National Recovery Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1996 through December 1, 1998
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1996) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


It is well known that post-consumer plastics have become a tremendous burden upon our waste disposal system. Diversion of plastics from landfill by recycling is a preferred method for treatment of post-consumer plastics. A particular increasing problem for the recycling of PET plastics is the growth in the use of very lightly tinted bottles, particularly light blue tinted bottles for bottling drinking water and household liquids. In order to maintain purity of plastics resins produced during the recycling process, it is desirable to color sort the plastics to a high level of accuracy. Current automated sorting technologies are unable to reliably distinguish light blue PET from clear PET recycled which are the most valuable of the plastics in the waste stream. Consequently, the clear PET recycled resin product is becoming increasingly contaminated with light blue PET plastic. In the Phase I research, a method was developed for accurate high speed discrimination of light blue bottles from a mixed color bottle stream. This method employs a narrow bandpass sensing approach. The Phase II research is directed toward design, engineering, construction, and testing of a high speed automated sorting system for sorting lightly tinted PET containers from clear PET containers.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, engineering, solid waste., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, Municipal, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, municipal waste plastics, waste minimization, waste recycling, recycled plastics, PET, plastics sorting, waste plastic particle mixtures, municipal waste, sorting system, municipal solid waste landfills, recycling, plastics, solid waste, plastic resins

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • SBIR Phase I:

    A Sorting System for Improving the Quality of Recycled PET Plastic Resins