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Food Waste Depackaging Equipment Industry Review

In this post, we round up the important topics and players in the Food Waste Depackaging Equipment and Separation Industry which provides organic waste processing technology for landfill waste diversion and recycling, while the energy is either:

  • extracted as a renewable fuel in biogas plants
  • unused, where the organic materials are aerobically composted.

We also discuss why the best of the latest generation of food waste depackaging technologies available today do not shred the packaging. This is an important point to note given the growing importance of food waste avoidance and processing and concerns that it may be a significant source of microplastics when digestate is spread on land.

A growing number of food waste depackaging techniques are also appropriate for non-source-separated biodegradable municipal waste (BMW). This rise is largely attributable to the rising general recycling rate targets.

These increase organic waste recycling rates to ever-increasing percentages in an effort to help prevent global warming. This makes sense in order to keep this material out of landfills and to meet the COP26 obligations made by so many countries to decarbonize their economies. However, it raises the danger of unwanted health effects from microplastics in the environment, as highlighted by the Independent Newspaper's article on microplastics found in human blood.

On This Page

  1. Food Waste Depackaging Equipment
  2. Contaminants Found in Source Separated Waste
  3. Food Waste Depackaging Companies Can Reduce Food Waste by up to 95%
  4. What De-packaging Machines Do
  5. DryCake “Twister™” Food Waste Depackager and Plastics Separator
  6. Why is Plastic Waste on Everyone's Lips Right Now?
  7. What is Plastic Recycling?
  8. Plastic Bottle Depackaging Machines
  9. Less Destructive Food Waste Depackaging and Recycling
  10. Do you want to know what we can recover from your food waste?
  11. Food Waste Depackaging Machines
  12. Salinas Valley Recycle Food Waste by Dewatering
  13. Conclusion

Food Waste Depackaging Equipment Roundup

As the EU and the leading US states in promoting the current models in the sustainable business move toward higher diversion and recycling goals, food waste recycling has become a high priority. Innovative companies looking to take on the challenge of organics recycling are making substantial gains.

Image text: "Food Waste depackaging equipment industry review".

Food packaging that does not meet specifications is mechanically separated from organic waste.

Manufacturers need to design their processes with extreme caution in order to maintain food integrity.

The majority of food waste occurs when unforeseen challenges occur, rendering the products unsafe for human consumption.

This includes foods that have not been sold by the expiration date or materials that have failed to maintain their refrigerated state for whatever reason, such as equipment failure.


Scavenger (SSFS) and sister company Blue Line Transfer (BLT) are some of the progressive players in the Food Waste Depackaging scene. They are located in South San Francisco in one of the west coast’s most densely populated areas.

Back in 2015, SSFS partnered with Zero Waste Energy to build and operate the Blue Line Biogenic CNG facility. Both green waste and food waste provide the fuel that allows the AD (anaerobic digestion) system to produce CNG. This is a low carbon and low-emissions fuel ideal for their fleet of biomethane powered collection vehicles reducing their dependence on fossil fuels.

South Australia

As the food waste problem worsens, Peats Soil is converting South Australia's organic waste into high-quality renewable energy with the help of ELB equipment.

The annual food waste disposal bill in Australia reached $10 billion in 2019, up from $8.9 billion the previous year.

Despite the fact that ‘fault' was frequently directed at primary production and manufacturing, consumers were the worst offenders in terms of food waste. In 2019, they accounted for 34% of the nation's food waste.

Avoiding Complete Product Destruction

Depackaging machines that advertise “complete product destruction” are now deprecated. The industry philosophy is now that, in order to avoid the creation of worrying microplastics, low-destructive methods which avoid microplastic creation are essential.

DryCake provides some of the most environmentally friendly methods for separating the organic content in expired, damaged, recalled, or off-spec food products from other materials (rejects).

We understand that they can separate organic materials from recyclable packagings such as wax-coated cardboard, glass bottles, aluminium cans, plastic bottles, wrappers, and containers.

Scott Equipment

Scott equipment worked with Seacliff Energy in Leamington, Canada on a project where they required a solution for their food waste recycling requirements.

Their engineering team collaborated with Seacliff management to develop equipment that successfully separated organics from waste. The organics are then pumped into the digester, where they decompose into methane gas.

Stone Equipment Co.

The Stone Equipment Co. offers industry-leading environmental machinery specializing in wood processing, biomass, recycling, and composting. They say that they can supply equipment for the complete process.

Their full environmental product portfolio includes:

  • shredders,
  • grinders,
  • trommel screens,
  • star screens,
  • windrow turners,
  • food depackaging equipment, and
  • wind sifters.

Customers can rent the right equipment for any environmental job from Stone Equipment Co.

Many of their products are available in portable, track-mounted, or stationary versions. Explore their machine rentals to find the best machine for your needs.

St. Louis Total Organics Recycling

Total organics recycling can arrange for commercial manufacturer's packaged spoilage to be delivered to St. Louis Composting's depackaging facilities. That's where they separate the material that cannot be composted (e.g. the plastic and metals in packaging) and reclaim the organic material (the food).  The packaging can then be recycled, disposed of, or converted to energy. and help it find a second beneficial purpose.

Contaminants Found in Source Separated Waste

According to a Biocycle online article, new depackaging facilities across Massachusetts are making it easier for businesses to divert packaged food materials from landfills.

Packaged foods should be discarded if they are out of date, mislabeled, damaged, or spoiled.

To reduce this avoidable waste, new facilities for efficiently removing food from various types of packaging are being developed. The resulting organic material is free of packaging and contaminants and can be used for anaerobic digestion, composting, or animal feed, depending on its properties.

The purity of source-separated organics (SSO) will always be less than perfect, and in some cases significantly less, regardless of how well-trained employees are in food waste source separation.

It is unrealistic to expect busy people to think twice before tossing plastic bottles, wrappers, and anything else they don't want into food trash cans. As a result, a significant investment in automated equipment is now required to sort through the mess created when various types of packaging and debris are tossed into food waste receptacles.

UK Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Facility Permits to Operate

Only permitted composting and anaerobic digestion facilities are permitted to accept food waste, and the Environment Agency conducts regular permit reviews. The type of permit they have (for example, volume reduction or small scale) is largely determined by the amount and type of source-separated organics they process.

Their permits require strict adherence to specific thresholds and material types, as well as site plans, operation and management plans, reporting, and, in some cases, monitoring. As a result, in order to maintain operational compliance and product consistency, these facilities may impose quality standards for incoming materials.

They may not be able or willing to accept everything that a generator offers. If you are a waste generator or haulier interested in dumping organic feedstocks, please contact the facility directly to confirm and coordinate delivery.

Food Waste Depackaging Companies Can Reduce Food Waste by up to 95%

According to a recent study, installing a waste depackaging machine can reduce food waste by up to 95% and pharmacy and cosmetics waste by up to 99%t. This is accomplished by purifying the packaging up to 99% of the time.

Look no further for the most profitable machine you can own! Drycake's Twister depackaging system allows you to feed, separate, process, and extract organics all in one machine.

This enables the organic waste producer and waste sorting system owner to recoup value from expired, discarded, or spoiled food. The Twister, with its small footprint, can be used as a wet or dry organic recovery system, processing bulk commercial waste, pre- or post-consumer food waste, and separating organics from paper, plastic, cardboard, or metal packaging.

In the United States, 2.5 million plastic bottles are discarded every hour. This is significant when you consider that containers and packaging account for more than 23 percent of waste in landfills.


Landfills emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases, so we must divert as much waste as possible away from them. Renergy™ is one of a growing number of UK businesses that are depackaging food waste. They do this in order to further their mission of reducing as much waste as possible for our clients.

In a 2009 report titled “Review of Food Waste Depackaging Equipment,” the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in the United Kingdom stated that food waste packaging in feedstocks was a potential barrier to efficient processing. As a result, WRAP commissioned SLR Consulting Limited (SLR) to conduct a literature review of the available food waste depackaging equipment in order to summarise the key information and assist potential project developers.

We can deal with a wide range of food waste. Our recycling process accepts liquid, semi-liquid, and solid food waste. Food waste that is still in its original packaging can also be depackaged. That is not an issue! Our depackaging machine is unafraid of cardboard, plastic, cans, and other materials.

Lack of Resources Leads to a Lack of Investment

A common barrier to recycling for many businesses is a lack of resources. Depackaging equipment can be useful for businesses that handle recyclable cans, pet bottles, or cartons. While there are depackaging companies that can handle this task for you, many businesses now prefer to do it themselves. Typically, these containers are not recycled because they must first be rinsed of their liquid waste in order to be recycled. A depackaging machine can help you with this task while also benefiting your recycling efforts in unexpected ways.

Depackaging and Liquid Separation

Depackaging and liquid separation are critical processes in waste product volume and weight reduction. The method separates liquid from containers so that the component parts can be recycled and reused. The uni screw compactor works best with packaged materials, such as packaged food waste.

Food waste is one of the most pressing issues of our time, affecting people, the environment, and profit. Having said that, the average person may be unaware of how the food they throw away contributes to climate change. Food waste can account for up to 40% of a country's total food supply. In Massachusetts, Vanguard Renewables, its farm partners, and businesses such as Whole Foods Market are combining food waste with manure to generate renewable energy..

What are the Causes of Food Industry Food Waste?

Inside factories where they run food processing production facilities, they can find problems leading to out of specification food.

These include:

  • labelling errors,
  • packaging discrepancies, and
  • packaging not suitable for maintaining the freshness of the product.

In distribution, other problems, that result in food waste are:

  • expired or
  • unsold products
  • refridgerated foods which for any reason were not kept sufficiently cool or frozen.

Goods that have these kinds of problems are full-fledged wastes and once they were simply seen as being ready to be disposed of and were until recently automatically sent into landfills.

This involves a cost for companies, which can be a significant drain on resources.

What De-packaging Machines Do

The first task of de-packaging machines and related separation equipment is to produce a pure organic output with the consistency of pulp or thick soup, as well as a reject stream that is as clean and water-free as possible.

Despite the fact that the amount of packaging in the reject stream will vary, the majority of food waste and mechanically separated organic content, such as BMW biological municipal waste (also known as OFMSW), will contain a significant amount of plastic in some form.

The presence of moisture in the reject stream must be avoided because moisture-laden content invariably contains calorific organic material, which every biogas plant or compost facility operator wants to see in the pulp where it produces biogas – the plant operator's source of profit.

Depackaging machines separate the outside packing (wrappings) from the contents of a food box, package, tin, drum, sacket, or other containers, allowing biological waste to be collected or recycled rather than disposed of in landfills.

DryCake “Twister™” Food Waste Depackager and Plastics Separator

Twister™ announced today that it has completed the first sales of its unique food waste depackager and separator to new customers in Europe and Asia.

In the rapidly expanding EU and Asian markets, the small footprint, low energy consumption plastic waste reprocessing machine has established a foothold. It has been in the works since the beginning of 2016. It was introduced in Canada this spring and provides decentralised organic processing, allowing for processing at the point of production, hence reducing the number of waste miles driven.

For the most part, de-packaging machines and accompanying separation equipment are designed to do two things: generate a pure organic output with the consistency of pulp or thick soup, as well as a reject stream that is as clean and devoid of water as is reasonably possible.

The majority of food waste and mechanically separated organic content is crucial in the reject stream, even though the amount of packaging in the reject stream will vary. BMW biological municipal waste (also known as OFMSW) and other similar wastes will contain a significant percentage of plastic in some form or another.

Because moisture-laden content in the reject stream almost always contains calorific organic material, it is critical to avoid the presence of moisture in the reject stream. This is because calorific organic material is what every biogas plant or compost facility operator wants to see in the pulp where it produces biogas, which is the plant operator's source of profit.

Depackaging machines separate the contents of a food tin, package, drum, can, pot, sacket, or other container from the outside packaging (wrappings), allowing biological waste to be collected or recycled rather than disposed of in landfills.

Why is Plastic Waste on Everyone's Lips Right Now?

Plastic waste is on everyone's lips right now due to recent research that shows just how many people have these small pieces of plastic in their bodies now. It cannot be making us healthier and the long-term consequences have never been researched or even considered until now.

An example of recent reporting on plastic found in humans is the Independent Newspaper article on plastic found in human blood.

Instead of posing a risk from the microplastics, depackaging units creating the latest generation of this equipment avoids shredding these plastics up. This is even the case for the waste comprising expired food, faulty packaging or rejected food.

Now it can all be processed and then used for anaerobic digestion or added to animal-feed by not shredding in machines like the Twister™.

Remove plastics and unwanted foreign objects from rejected food waste recovered food can either be dropped directed into a container below the separator unit, mechanically conveyed away or pumped into a tank.

What Happens in Food/Organic Waste Treatment Facilities

Material that has been packaged, such as plastics and compostable packaging, is brought into a receiving building, where it is fed into giant twin-screw mixing hoppers, known as the de-packager. The material is broken open in the hopper by the screws, and wastewaters are added after it has been broken open. These are frequently liquids resulting from the de-packaging of fizzy drinks and other beverages. Water begins to be absorbed by any compostable packaging at this point. This includes vegware items as well as cardboard and paper packaging.

While in operation, the system breaks open packed wet food such as fluid and cream products, separates out the liquid contents from the packaging, washes, and compresses the packing as it exits the machine. The cleaned metal or plastic is then ready for recycling, and the liquids can either be transported to a bio-digester or composted after they have been cleaned. Want to watch the zero waste monster in action? Check out the video below. Now is the time to view the video!

The input trough and the separating mechanism are the two main components of the depackager. De-packaging machines that are state-of-the-art are becoming increasingly common. This technology is also being used by a large number of our partner farm-based digesters.

The way it works is that initially there is a de-pack. This is made up of a network of paddles and screens that work together to separate expired or damaged packaged food from the plastic, metal, styrofoam, or cardboard containers that it is packaged in. It is then combined with cow manure and digested to produce renewable energy from the resulting food waste slurry. This cutting-edge technology makes it simple to recycle food waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill as a result of the packaging it comes in.

Green Solutions, in addition to providing resources, also offers the option of toll pelletizing and grinding your plastic scrap to your particular standards. They will take the waste generated by your company and turn it back into a pellet or regrind form. They can also use the material to create a new final product from scratch.

Following the completion of the acceptance phase, the products are brought into a reception hall where they are checked, sorted, and either removed from their packaging or stripped of any foreign materials.

Operators are able to separate the packaging from the organic portion of the product because to the use of cutting-edge separation technologies. This packaging is either recycled or converted into energy, depending on its content; the organic stream is used as a source of energy for fermentation facilities. De-packaging plants are prepared to treat food waste regardless of the packaging it comes in (plastic, tin, glass, pet and tetra pack packaging, among other things) and to comply with all European Legislation pertaining to animal by-products and by-products from animals.

The recovered organics can be used for a variety of purposes, including composting, animal nutrition supplements, and anaerobic digestion for the creation of green energy.

What is Plastic Recycling?

Plastic Recycling is the process of recovering waste or scrap plastic and reprocessing these materials into other functional and practical products.

Because almost all plastic is non-biodegradable, it must be recycled as part of the global efforts to reduce plastic and other solid waste in the environment.

Why should we recycle plastic?

Plastics should be recycled because of several reasons: plastic recycling helps conserve resources and diverts plastics from landfills or unintended destinations such as oceans (approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans each year).

One of the largest manufacturers of plastic granules from post-consumer waste in Europe, Systec Plastics Eisfeld GMbH in Germany, chose in 2017 to replace their existing installation of screw compactors with 6 new Runi screw compactors type sk370, into their washing line for
read more.

What is a Friction Washer?

A Friction Washer is a device used for washing heavily contaminated stiff or flexible plastic flakes that originate from a primary crusher or a grinder, the plastic friction washer has been created specifically for this purpose.

Plastic trash washing machines use centrifugal force to clean their products.

This effect is based on mechanical friction and water consumption, which ensures a very good cleaning result. The plastic washing machine can be used as a “dry separator” for materials that are less polluted than others.

Recycling Company Avoids Having to Transport Water

By compacting and dewatering rejects, it is possible to dispose of dewatered waste at a lesser cost.

A paper recycling company has been able to avoid the need to transfer water that would otherwise have been wasted. Skjern Papir A/S in Denmark manufactures 54,000 tonnes of liner and cardboard from recycled paper each year, which is used in the production of packaging.

Initial sorting separates paper material from big, insoluble elements such as plastic, staples, and other undesired things during the initial stage of the process.

Metal Tin Can Depackaging Machines

Depackaging separator, plastic bottles, tea bags, chips packs, cardboard boxes, Tetrapak packs, aluminium cans, drywall, etc. Are designed to separate all dry and liquid expired or defective products from their packaging.

Unpacked products can be converted into value-added products and easily recycled. We have pack separator productions in various capacities according to customer demand.

It is useful if the rotor speed can be adjusted from the control panel. The sieve can be changed easily. Quick intervention is performed in machine service and maintenance.

Efficient technology and energy are especially important for continuously running machines. MT Technology enables minimum energy consumption and maximum performance.

Plastic Bottle Depackaging Machines

There are some dedicated plastic bottle depackaging machines available that are sold uniquely to bottling factories for use in-house. A number of general depackagers can also perform this function but may require some minor configuration changes to handle the large volume of liquid released.

The Smicon BS260 Belt Separator is a general-purpose food waste separator that we understand can be used as a stand-alone plastic bottle depackaging machine. The BS260 is described as being especially suitable for removing food from its packaging on a smaller scale and in batch-wise series.

The most suitable is the moist food products in plastic packaging. Furthermore, the belt separator can crush unpacked moist organic matter. In addition to the function as a stand-alone depackaging machine, the soft belt separator purifies the organic output of the Smimo machines even further for a cleaner organic output of your process.

Less Destructive Food Waste Depackaging and Recycling

During less destructive methods of food waste, depackaging and recycling, the packaged materials are loaded into a separation chamber where a variety of durable and adjustable paddles open up the packaging.

These paddles cause a squeezing effect which separates packaging from its contents without damage to the packaging.

Recovered food and liquids are sent to organic waste facilities (OWFs) to be repurposed into nutrient-rich compost which will be used on broadacre farms and crops, creating a closed-loop solution for food waste.

The packaging material is usually taken to the nearest municipal waste transfer station to be recovered for recycling wherever possible.

Zero Waste Monster Food Waste Recycling Machine

An automated food waste recycling system called the Zero-waste Monster (ZWM) uses a two-shafted grinder, helical screw, perforated screen and a compaction zone to separate liquids from solids waste during the processing of food waste.

Incoming products or materials are shredded into smaller pieces, which increases the amount of surface area available for washing and separation of liquids from solids, resulting in increased efficiency.

For example, expired food packaging can be shredded and the contents of the package can be removed from the packages.

It is possible to recycle the cleaned metal container while the food contents are securely discharged into the wastewater system.

The ZWM depackages food waste, making it easier for people to recycle it.

Twister De-packagers Enable Significant Reductions in Disposal Costs

Twister depack de-packagers place a high value on food waste, production waste, and scraps from waste treatment procedures, to name a few of the primary matrices utilised by the company.

Twister de-packagers enable a significant reduction in disposal costs in accordance with environmental regulations issued locally and internationally.

This is made possible by the high reliability of the machinery and the extensive research into the types of organic waste matrices that can be sorted out and recovered by the machines.

Ecorecyclage SA De-packages Food Waste in Switzerland

Lavigny is where Ecorecyclage SA, the largest biowaste recovery operation in French-speaking Switzerland, is located.

The company specialises in the recovery of green and food waste, as well as the manufacture of biogas and natural fertilisers in both solid and liquid forms.

Ecorecyclage SA made the decision to invest in a new food waste recovery service as a result of the existing regulatory environment and increasing client demand.

Smimo™ Food Waste Depackaging Machines

For the past six years, clients have been using the Smimo™ Depackaging Machine to separate packing from food products.

These unpacking machines separate the organic material on one side of the separator from the remainder of the package on the other side of the separation device.

The separator is also available in a stainless steel design, which makes it perfect for the processing of foodstuffs, according to the manufacturer. The wearing parts are said to be simple to replace.

The company provides food waste solutions for a wide range of commercial applications, ranging from eateries to large-scale institutions and everything in between. In addition to decreasing waste volume by up to 90%, their composting devices provide an end product that is rich in nutrients and can be reused.

Salinas Valley Recycle Food Waste by Dewatering

Using a new turbo separator, Salinas Valley Recycling's de-packager services can assist your company in meeting the requirements of ab 1826 and sb 1383 by diverting your package material away from landfills.

Designed to process up to ten tonnes per hour (or eighty tonnes per day), the turbo separator generates an organic stream that is 99% free of contaminants that may be put into the food waste composting operation.

In order to reduce the volume and weight of waste products, it is necessary to depackage and separate the liquids from the solids. Using this procedure, the liquid may be separated from the containers, allowing the component pieces to be recycled and reused.

Cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paper mills, distribution, food and beverage industries, and breweries, are just a few examples of typical applications.

Furthermore, a new application for usage in anaerobic digestion facilities has just been tried and evaluated, and the results are promising.

Food Waste Depackaging Equipment Review Conclusion

In this Food Waste Depackaging Equipment Industry Review, we have talked about many different aspects of this equipment and its uses.

While minimization is the most effective strategy for combating food waste and waste in general, improvements in the waste-to-energy sector are showcasing the potential for renewable energy sources in waste food, and a vital renewable fertiliser resource.

The food waste depackaging and separation equipment market is rising to the task of improving the equipment available, but shredding the food waste should be considered to be unacceptable due to the vast additional quantity of microplastics this will create.

Too many depackaging equipment manufacturers are still peddling out of date shredding, and hammer mill based machines, which often were never originally intended for depackaging.

These create a huge additional microplastics burden on the soils on which they are spread. In many nations the environmental regulators are slowly waking up to the need to outlaw the spreading of microplastics in organic fertilisers and soil improver materials. This cannot come too soon.

Microplastics are a scandal of a material (plastic) that the industry introduced as a massive experiment without any prior research on its environmental effects.

It is now being revealed to be getting into the blood of all of us, and who knows the effect of that?

However, new depackagers are available which don't make microplastics, and the waste industry should be urgently de-commissioning all of the old destructor type machines and using those.

Food waste processing can also save money by transforming waste into a fertiliser product that has a sales value.

For example, anaerobic digestion was highlighted as a cost-effective alternative in South Australia's waste plan for 2015-2020. But this also notes that the state lacks the feedstock levels required to support large-scale waste–to–energy operations without energy recovery from such feedstocks.

A major barrier and the likely reason for that for municipal authorities is a lack of investment resources in food waste collection and recycling.

Investment in this technology needs to be raised in order that the new generation of low-destruction equipment can be introduced to save money and avoid worsening the environmental impact of microplastics.

To that aim, recyclers everywhere are working to convert organic waste into energy and fertiliser, paving the way for a more sustainable world and a renewable biofuel future.

For further information on the depackaging industry there is a list of Depackaging and Separator Suppliers here.

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