Automated Separation of Post-Consumer Polymer Flake

EPA Contract Number: 68D98157
Title: Automated Separation of Post-Consumer Polymer Flake
Investigators: Sommer, Edward J.
Small Business: National Recovery Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through September 1, 2000
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1998) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The National Resource Council has designated technologies for the identification and sorting of plastics for recycling as critical technologies. Modern plastics equipment is highly sensitive to impurities in the polymer feedstock. Automated polymer flake sorting systems are becoming essential tools for processors in removing foreign contaminants and cross contaminations. However, existing flake sorting systems are unable to distinguish flakes by their polymer chemistry and instead rely upon color detection, opacity detection, or density separations. These systems have limited applicability and accuracy. The Phase I research established feasibility for developing a new breakthrough technology using newly developed sensors and precision sorting mechanisms for high accuracy sorting of polymers in their flake form. This new technology distinguishes polymer flake particles at high speed according to polymer chemistry and can provide a cost-effective means for recyclers to sort streams of mixed polymers to high purity specifications. In National Recover Technologies, Inc., Phase II, will design, engineer, construct, and demonstrate a cost-effective automated system for sorting polymer flake at commercially viable throughput rates.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, hazardous/solid waste, engineering, chemistry, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Municipal, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemistry and Materials Science, Environmental Engineering, cleaner production, plastic flake, recycled plastics, clean technology, plastics sorting, sorting system, recycling, polymer flake, plastics, plastic resins, pollution prevention, automated seperation, post consumer polymer flake, flake sorting

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Automated Separation of Post-Consumer Polymer Flake