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An automated hi-tech centre at Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, sorts larger volumes of waste

SUEZ built a new waste automated sorting plant to improve plastic waste recycling. This cutting-edge plant makes Rotterdam a pioneer town in the eco-responsible approach of the Netherlands and opens the way to the spreading of other similar plants in the country

The mission

Enter waste recycling into the Dutch environment dynamic

The Netherlands are a leading proponent of sustainable development and environmentally-sound economy. In 2010 Dutch authorities decided to: optimise the environmental performance of its plastic waste recycling process.  SUEZ took the initiative to build the first sorting plant for plastic packaging waste in the Netherlands.

450,000 tonnes

the annual volume of plastic packaging waste produced in the Netherlands.

Our solution

Optimise waste sorting in Rotterdam through automation

Many Dutch municipalities entrusted SUEZ to:

  • improve its performance in plastic packaging waste sorting to recover as much as possible;
  • obtain high quality, homogeneous plastic material for recycling purposes.


To make its mission a success, in 2011 SUEZ built a latest-generation sorting centre in Rotterdam with several objectives: 

  • Automate waste sorting for optimum productivity
    A fully automated plastic sorting line uses innovative techniques such as advanced optical sorting, recent infra-red technology and compressed air. All process steps are done under the supervision of the control room staff to avoid irregularities. 

  • Increase the recycling rate and thereby preserve the environment
    The automated process increases the quantity of recoverable material and raises sorting capacity. After verification, materials are compressed into bales. These bales are stored in site warehouses before transport to transformation plants to enjoy a second life.
    Through a decisive partnership with packaging producers, SUEZ succeeded in adapting certain containers to optimise the recycling rate upstream: e.g. change to the colour of detergent bottles to identify them more easily in the sorting phase, modification of bottle forms to reduce residue stored after usage.

  • Raise public awareness  
    An information area for councillors and civil servants from municipalities was installed next to the plant. The World of SUEZ exhibition provides useful information about the circular economy and the virtues of recycling, witnessed by the high-tech leading edge technologies used on this waste sorting site. 
The results
 strong partnership between SUEZ and NEDVANG, the waste management supervisory authority in the Netherlands, meant that the construction work was completed in record time: the site was ready in under four months. Since September 2011, this very real facility of the future has operated under SUEZ supervision, with the contract ending after four years. 

This waste sorting plant meets the needs Dutch authorities and producers of packages: it is the only unit capable of sorting high volumes of plastic packaging waste prior to recycling.
The automated system is used to separate all types of plastics according to their form, weight,  type of resin, etc. A genuine technical and industrial challenge, where the combination of leading-edge technologies on an automated sorting line produces high-precision results. 

The Rotterdam waste sorting centre is the first step in a program to build high-tech units across the Netherlands. 
In 2014 the Rotterdam waste sorting plant is extended to sort the increasing volumes of collected plastic packaging waste. 

35,000 tonnes 

of plastic packaging waste are processed annually in the Rotterdam plant (between 2010 – 2014)

2/3

portion of the country's plastic packaging processed at the Rotterdam plant 

120.000 tons

of packaging waste are processed annually in the Rotterdam plant since 2015

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