New processing plant takes glass recycling to the next level

July 26, 2018

PRODUCTIVITY-Alex-Fraser-New-Glass-Plant-May-2018-2

As one of the largest recycled aggregates producers in Australia, Alex Fraser is taking glass recycling one step further by building an improved processing plant at its Laverton facility.

In the July edition of Quarry Magazine, Alex Fraser’s Victorian recycling production manager Adam Somerscales discusses the company’s plans and vision.

“For nearly 10 years, we have been working to return recycled glass to its primary state of sand,” said Adam.

“Glass from kerb side collection is broken down and optically sorted into different colours. It is then sold to glass bottle manufacturers, who have strict quality guidelines for recycled glass.

“When pieces of glass are too small to sort or contain large amounts of ceramic, stone and porcelain, this glass is stockpiled. Alex Fraser takes these problem glass fines and processes them to sand for use in drainage and road projects.”

A pilot plant has been used to prove the process and help develop a market over the past six years.

“Through a long running series of laboratory tests and field trials, we have also demonstrated that we can increase the amount of recycled sand in road base while maintaining the specifications set by VicRoads and have precise mix registrations in place,” Adam added.

“The key differentiator for Alex Fraser is our customers trust that we can make a consistent road base, asphalt or sand for their projects, all day every day,” he said.

“By researching different plants used overseas and local scoping and testing over the past 12 months, we have been able to design a fixed plant at our Laverton facility.”

Somerscales said the new plant would include crushing processes and multiple screening and separation processes. Conveyors will link it to the main crushing plant, substantially reducing mobile equipment movement and material handling costs. It will also maintain precise control of mix designs, and maximise the use of recycled sand in all the company’s products.

“This is an intricate project that we haven’t seen anywhere in the world, and there will be lessons to be learnt during commissioning and operation,” Adam said.

“The design process has included input from operators, maintenance personnel, consulting engineers and safety advisors.

“We are aiming for an efficient plant that has excellent maintenance access and makes a good product in high tonnages. It will be the first glass recycling facility licensed under Victoria’s new [EPA] regulations.”

The new plant is nearing completion and is due for commissioning in 2018.

Adam said that there is the potential to build more of these plants, but in the short term this one new plant will produce enough raw materials to supply the Laverton, Epping and Clayton plants.