For several years, the recycling industry has faced changing societal expectations and regulatory requirements. Against this backdrop, SUEZ is innovating, investing and developing partnerships to meet new technological challenges and to provide solutions that improve recycling.
In celebration of Global Recycling Day on March 18th, the Group announces 4 new projects.
- Encouraging household waste sorting
A smart “meter” to drive waste reduction: SUEZ is taking support for citizens’ sorting to the next level by providing local communities with new data-driven decision-making tools. The data obtained from bin collections, urban cleaning rounds, voluntary contribution access points and waste centers are combined with data on housing, the environment, and consumer behavior to model an effective “waste meter” for households and neighborhoods. The meter provides local authorities with new initiatives to implement to improve sorting, and in turn, to reduce waste: specialized guidance for inhabitants, targeting of neighborhoods to further education, changes in the number of collections, their frequency, etc. SUEZ is now integrating this unique solution into its responses to calls for tenders.
- Sorting packaging more effectively
Artificial intelligence to guarantee the quality of outgoing flows: at the selective collection sorting center in Limeil-Brévannes (Greater Paris region), SUEZ teams have implemented waste quality monitoring using artificial intelligence. At the end of the conveyor belt, after the sorting operation, a camera films the outgoing flows which are continuously analyzed by an object recognition algorithm that is over 98% reliable for plastics. As such, material quality is continuously traced, guaranteeing seamless flows delivered to manufacturers for reintegration into the manufacturing process. This innovative system is currently being deployed at 16 sorting centers operated by SUEZ in France.
- Improving the sorting of complex plastic waste
A next-generation sorting line to separate the various rigid plastics: at its industrial site in Berville-sur-Seine, near Rouen (Northern France), SUEZ has just invested more than €1 million in a new sorting process for mixed rigid plastics from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), end-of-life vehicles and industrial waste. This next-generation tool separates materials by deploying flotation technology. Through a succession of highly concentrated baths and several shredding stages polymers are identified and carefully separated by plastic type, making it possible to recycle this complex waste.
- Structuring recycling channels for new types of waste
Lithium-ion battery recycling from end-of-life electric vehicles: ERAMET and SUEZ have decided to expand their joint efforts, signing a new partnership agreement on February 17th. This will enable the two Groups to launch the pre-industrial phase for the recovery of lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles as early as this year (selection of a site, launch of new studies enabling the selection of main suppliers, completion of administrative procedures and schedule definition for collection operations from suppliers, etc.). Based on the conclusions of this pre-industrial phase, ERAMET and SUEZ plan to build a lithium-ion battery recycling plant in France by 2024 to produce black mass: a concentrate of metals (nickel, cobalt, manganese, lithium, and graphite) adapted to hydrometallurgical refining stages.
“While regulations and collective awareness of recycling are increasing, there is still much room for improvement to realize the ambitions of France’s Anti-Waste Law for a Circular Economy (AGEC) and the goal of achieving 100% recycled plastic by 2025 . However, I am convinced that innovation is strongest in this restrictive context, and that we can repurpose our businesses to further improve our performance in waste management and reduction. The various partnerships and projects we are announcing on this Global Recycling Day reflect SUEZ’s ambition to be at the forefront of innovation for a more sustainable world, by improving our current processes and developing new recycling channels to manage and sort new waste (wind turbines, batteries for electric vehicles, etc.).”- Maximilien Pellegrini ,Group Deputy CEO, in charge of France and Italy