Method for Opening and Emptying the Contents of Plastic Bags Entering Recycling Facilities

EPA Contract Number: 68D30079
Title: Method for Opening and Emptying the Contents of Plastic Bags Entering Recycling Facilities
Investigators: Sommer, Edward J.
Small Business: National Recovery Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1993 through June 1, 1996
Project Amount: $149,999
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1993) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Many U.S. municipalities are integrating recycling programs into the management of their solid waste in order to minimize landfill requirements. These programs often include a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) where the municipal solid waste (MSW), curbside collected recyclable materials, and other bagged waste are transported to a central facility for the retrieval of recyclable materials before landfilling or incineration. Operators of these facilities have long noted the need for an automated device which can open and empty the thousands of plastic bags entering the MRF daily. In the Phase I research, a prototype system was tested which takes advantage of the weakness of plastic bags to heat as the means for opening the bags and which uses a mechanical vibratory system for emptying the opened bags. In the Phase II research, testing will continue on several Phase III prototypes to quantify performance of the technology and to determine avenues for improvement. Modifications to the design will be investigated to improve bag opening and emptying, to ensure the environmental soundness of the technology, and to extend the technology to perform additional valuable functions in the processing of waste.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Municipal, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil/Environmental Engineering, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, municipal waste plastics, waste recycling, recycled plastics, recovery, plastics sorting, hazardous waste, municipal waste, sorting system, recycling, plastic, municipal solid waste landfills, recycled glass technologies, plastic bags, solid waste, plastics, pollution prevention, artificial intelligence techniques, automated seperation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final