Envac Optibag is a leading global provider of optical sorting facilities for sorting household waste at source. Household waste is divided into different colored bags that are placed in existing waste containers and shipped by regular refuse-collection vehicles for waste disposal. It is only when the waste bags reach the plant that the magic occurs. Optical scanning of the bags is used to sort by color and recycle in the appropriate way.

The recently raised interest in climate change has led to an increased interest in recycling in households. Obviously, we all want to help each other by creating a better environment for the next generation.

This is a trend that the Envac Optibag company in Mjölby has noticed. Optibag has developed a system for the optical reading of waste bags containing household waste. The idea is simple yet ingenious. Households sort their waste into different colored bags, depending on content and when the bags reach the waste disposal station, they are automatically sorted by color. Households in the regions where they use Optibag’s systems are extremely satisfied. Stefan Nilsson at Optibag says:

“Households are positive about the option of sorting at home and being able to have their waste picked up directly from their site. As a result, they do not have to visit a recycling station to drop off their material. A study conducted among households in Linköping municipality revealed that 94.7 % of residents feel that this is an easy way of sorting food waste.

Easy handling is the key to success

The Optibag system requires no special changes to existing household waste management. Refuse bags are placed in the waste bins as previously and are collected by regular refuse-collection vehicles. As all the waste is collected simultaneously by one and the same vehicle, the logistics are both simple to handle and inexpensive. It is also easy to expand sorting at the source to other types of waste, the only thing that is needed is a bag of a different color.

Sorting at source – a matter of course in the future

Optibag has 19 facilities in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and France. Interest in the system is immense, and in the spring we will be opening another three facilities in Sweden; at Halmstad Energi och Miljö (HEM), Kalmar Strait Region Sanitation (KSRR) and Ljungby Municipality.

“More and more major cities are starting to show an interest in our system and the challenge we face is therefore to increase capacity as demand in this case can be 200’–400’ tonnes of waste per year to be sorted. Sorting at source in households will be virtually obligatory, and more widely accepted in ten years time,” says Stefan Nilsson.

Orderliness and structure for a better service

Optibag started using MaintMaster in October 2015 to get a better handle on its business.

Therese Carlsson is responsible for the implementation of Optibag:

“We opted to start with MaintMaster in order to organize support jobs for our customers in a better way. We are also looking to have our consultants receive their assignments, and print service reports directly in the system. We have also added our entire inventory management process in the maintenance system.”

Even though this initially required a lot of work to add all the details, Therese feels that they have saved time at work:
“We do not now have the time and energy to spend on searching for information in folders and files in the office. It helps immensely to be able to search for the right spare parts for the right facility directly in the system. Promoting orderliness and a structured work flow allows us to offer a better service to our customers.”

By sending jobs directly from the maintenance system to the company’s consultants, Optibag can ensure that nothing “falls between the cracks” or is overlooked. Moreover, they can bill their customers before they received invoices from their consultants as the information appears in the maintenance system.

  1. All bags are placed together in the existing waste container.
  2. The waste is transported by regular refuse-collection vehicles
  3. At the plant, waste is sorted optically according to the color of the bags.
  4. The green bags with organic waste are sorted for the biogas Facility.
  5. The gray bags go to metal recycling, the orange to plastic recycling and the yellow and blue for paper and newspaper collection.
  6. Other waste is sorted as residual fraction and goes to energy recovery.
  7. The biogas is used, among other things, for the city’s buses.