Project “Separation and recovery of Inox steel from Dishwashers (SID)”

The project ‘Separation and recovery of Inox steel from Dishwasher (SID)’, which was Co‐financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and Greek national funds through the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, has been materialized under the call ” Bilateral and Multilateral S&T Cooperation between Greece and China” (project code: 5050736).

Action or Project Title: ‘BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL COOPERATION’ – Bilateral and Multilateral S&T Cooperation between Greece and China

Project Title: Separation and recovery of Inox Steel from Dishwashers (SID)

Operational Programme: Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Brief description of the project

The main objectives of the project were to explore the possibility and propose methodology for:

A) Recovery of inox steel from dishwashers.

B) application of the above method for the separation of other non-magnetic metals (e.g. copper, aluminum) from clean fractions of plastics coming from small household appliances or semi-finished products from the treatment of Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

Successful laboratory-scale separation tests led to the design and installation of an industrial plant for verification of inox steel separation. The dishwashers were shredded to reduce volume and the shredded products went through stages of magnetic separation to remove the ferrous components that are magnetized, eddy current separation to remove the non-ferrous fraction, and inductive separation to remove the residual metal fraction, which contains the inox steel but also residual cables and boards. This fraction is led to the final stage of shredding and high intensity magnetic separation to separate the inox steel.

For the inox steel content from dishwashers, a purity of >98% was achieved with recovery of >90% w/w. The proposed solution was successfully applied to the recovery of inox steel from depolluted small household appliances and other depolluted small electronic equipment.

The application of the proposed inox steel separation and recovery technique contributes to a more efficient management of the WEEE stream, to the saving of raw materials through the recovery of high purity inox steel and to the implementation of circular economy solutions for this material stream.

Documentation of the project character as a good practice – Benefits arising from the project

The project is an excellent example of linking research and innovation with entrepreneurship, given the projected rapid increase in WEEE and the strict management targets provided by European and domestic legislation. The main benefits identified are the following:

Α. From the processing of dishwashers and according to the collection data so far, it is estimated that the application of the process can lead to the recovery of approximately 20t/year of high purity inox steel, if applied to all appliances collected in the Territory. The recovery of clean material reduces the use of primary materials for the production of inox steel, the production cost of primary material, energy consumption and generally the reduction of the environmental footprint.

Β. Τhe know-how developed is extendable and can be applied economically and commercially in other cases of separation of electrical or other appliances for the recovery of inox steel (e.g. washing machines, sinks, etc.) of domestic or imported WEEE streams, with similar or different composition. ECORESET S.A. can receive WEEE from similar Greek and Balkan companies, pioneering in the field of recycling in the region.

C. The industrial application of this methodology is expected to create new jobs for the operation of the processing line in its entirety. The proposed method will lead to the utilization of recyclable inox steel within Greece as an independent steel stream with high added value, in contrast to the existing practice of selling it as common steel of lower commercial value.