Recycling

The bags from Valorlux are picked up every other week at your doorstep and transported to the sorting centre where the content is separated into its different fractions which are then brought to recycling.

The collection of plastic bottles and flacons, metal waste and beverage cartons (PMC) as plastic films and bags is organised by and also cost-covered by Valorlux which has signed a contract with each community.

In 2017 7,994 tons of packaging waste was recycled in facilities in Luxembourg or abroad.

There are three criteria based on which Valorlux decides with which factories to cooperate:

  • The factory has to be accredited by the environmental department
  • The distance between the sorting centre and the factory has to be the shortest possible
  • The recycling quality has to be impeccable
Material Weight (t) Destination
PET 362.03 Wellman France Recycling (Verdun, F)
82.68 Sorepla (Neufchâteau, F)
16.5 SRH Kunstoffe (Plauen, D)
699.50 Wellman France Recycling (Verdun, F)
1,669.42 Plastipak Packaging France (Ste Marie la Blanche, F)
678.96 Umweltdienste Kedenburg (Beckum, D)
HDPE 597 RE Plano GmbH (Lünen, D)
1.36 EU-REC Gmbh (Trier, D)
Steel 1,178.12 Derichebourg Environnement ESKA (Woippy, F)
Aluminium 292.02 Van Dalen Belgium n.v
Beverage Cartons 1,084 PNM (Kreuzau, D)
187.14 EU-Rec GmbH (Trier, D)
Total Amount Recycled 6,776.70
Residuals after Sorting Valorised 1,110.16 Lamesch Exploitation (Bettembourg, L)
107.24 SIDOR-MVA (Leudelange, L)
Total valorisation résidus de tri 1,217.40
Total Amount Valorised 7,994.10

Plastic bottles and flacons

Items made of recycled plastic

Valorlux collects all PET and HDPE bottles and flacons in the blue bags. These are sorted at the sorting centre and afterwards recycled:

  • Transparent and colourless bottles are recycled and used for the production of new PET bottles
  • Transparent and coloured PET bottles are manufactured into textile fibres or processed as new packaging
  • Bottles made of HDPE are manufactured into pipes, packaging and cable sheathing.

Recycling – step by step

In order to receive recycled plastic of good quality, correct sorting is crucial. The collected PET bottles in the blue bag from Valorlux are sorted with a laser. After this, the bottles are pressed into bales according to their colours in transparent/colourless, green / dark blue and coloured/red. HDPE is sorted manually.

The bottles are cleaned in several wash cycles to remove impurities, such as paper, carton, adhesives and others. The remainder is chopped into “flakes” of 8-12mm. Due to the process of “flotation” PET and HDPE are separated: HDPE floats while PET sinks to the bottom. Thereafter, the “flakes” are compressed and minced. After heating the PET and HDPE, it can be pressed into any form.

Download the information sheet on plastic

Metal waste

Items made of steel or aluminium

Steel:

  • Approximately 65% of a car is made of recycled steel: parts of the motor, the body, the doors … It is used in many ways
  • Recycled steel is often used in home appliances, such as washing machines, stoves, refrigerators …
  • Tins and cans are also mostly made of recycled steel
  • 70% of all building products are recycled: the concrete scaffolding, metal constructions, nails …

Aluminium:

Recycled aluminium can be found in several items: electric cables, food and medication packages, watches …

Recycling – step by step

At the sorting centre the steel is separated from other packaging with the help of a magnet. Aluminium is manually separated. In a next step, the steel and aluminium are grinded and washed. The discarded metal is then melted in a furnace.

Steel can be melted in a furnace in order to be processed in a blend (40% recycled steel) or in an electric furnace where 100% recycled steel can be melted. Aluminium is processed further in specialized factories for casting.

After that, the steel and aluminium are cast in moulds for new products.

Download the information sheet on steel Download the information sheet on aluminium

Beverage cartons

Items made of paper, aluminium and plastic

Beverage cartons consist of three different materials: paper, aluminium and plastic. The paper is used for many different products: kitchen roll, kraft paper, cardboard …

A blend of aluminium and plastic is used for the production of clinker bricks (made of artificial cement).

Recycling – step by step

Beverage cartons are automatically sorted in the sorting centres of Valorlux. Afterwards the cartons are brought to the recycler, where they are shredded. The shredded material is filled into a pulper with water where the whole mass is kneaded. As the cellulose fibres dissolve the carton is separated from the plastic and aluminium through the process of flotation.

Hereafter the paper is normally recycled while the blend of plastic and aluminium is separated in another process and each individually recycled.

Download the information sheet on beverage cartons

Glass

Items made of glass

Bottles and jars of glass are made of used glass.

Recycling – step by step

The collected glass is grinded right away without washing and impurities are removed, e.g. labels and lids, through friction. This so-called “cullet” is directly processed in a furnace. Waste glass has the advantage that no additives are needed for recycling and the energy usage is way lower due to the melting point at already 1,000°C instead of 1,500°C for virgin glass. Therefore, the processing of “cullet” is very energy-efficient. Glass is also often utilised as plasticizer to facilitate the melting of virgin glass: using 80% of the weight in production from “cullet” saves 25% in energy compared to the production without waste glass.

Download the information sheet on glass

Paper/cardboard

Items made of paper and cardboard

Newspapers, notebooks, sheets, cartons… all these items can be made from waste paper.

Recycling – step by step

In a compounding plant processed paper is combined with water, chemical additives and soap. This process leads to ink and fibre being separated and the paper pulp being bleached. In a second step, a purifier then gets rid of all the unwanted residual materials, such as staples. Afterwards, tiny air bubbles are blended into the pulp and through a physico-chemical process the ink gathers in the soap and floats on the surface in the air bubbles. The recycled pulp is then added into the traditional paper process and can be used either individually or in combination with virgin material to produce new paper.

Download the information sheet on paper/cardboard