Depackaging Mixed Supermarket Food Waste

Supermarket Waste Unpacking

Packaged Sandwich, Pastie and Pie De-Packaging



Atritor Turbo Separator Depacking System



Dessert Pots Prior to Unpacking














Up until the 1990’s, prior to the BSE crisis, rejected food stuffs and confectionery were typically processed for use as animal feeds.


The effects of the restrictions resulted in the increase and availability of waste organic matter. Organic matter was identified as a rich source of methane gas, which when land-filled into specially prepared sites, could be tapped off and used as fuel to generate electricity in turbine power generators. Other avenues of disposal were Composters and Renderering Companies. In all cases the waste needs to be removed from its packaging before being processed. Shredding or crushing was not an efficient solution due to contamination of the recovered product with packaging and a high percentage of product remained with the separated packaging. This resulted in the product requiring sifting further before being able to move on to the following process. The poor efficiencies achieved resulted in higher recovered packaging weights which increased landfill or recycling costs. The only other option was to empty the packaging by hand which is slow, costly and has health and safety implications.


The Turbo Separator is designed to separate a wide range of packaging from its contents achieving up to 99% separation efficiency. The Turbo Separator separates the products using centrifugal force, air flow and mechanical action. The paddles inflict the minimal amount of damage to the packaging to achieve maximum separation efficiency.

The Turbo Separator is fitted with a variable speed drive to enhance efficiency. The system is capable of being mounted either in doors or out doors.
Atritor supply the complete system including in-feed conveyor, empty packaging conveyor, recovered material conveyor and pumping system. The Turbo Separator is mounted on an access platform and includes controls housed in a floor mounted panel.


Examples of Supermarket Waste products presently being unpacked by a Turbo Separator Depackaging System include:

  • Bread in plastic or paper wrappers and bags
  • Pet food in tins or pouches
  • Sugar, Salt or pepper in sachets
  • Ready meals in cardboard and plastic packaging
  • Cereals in bags and boxes
  • Biscuits or crackers in soft packaging
  • Cheese in soft packaging (polymer shrink wrap, paper bags)
  • Yoghurts in polymer pots and cardboard trays
  • Drinks in plastic, aluminium or tinned containers
  • Milk in TetraPaks or polymer bottles and containers
  • Sandwiches in soft packaging (plastic bags or paper bags)
  • Desserts in polymer containers
  • Various meats in soft packaging (polymer containers, plastic bags)
  • Various vegetables in soft packaging (polymer bags, paper bags)
  • Gravy in TetraPaks or polymer containers
  • Tea bags in boxes, foil wrapped or loose
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned Fruit
  • Food stuffs in plastic bags
  • Food stuffs in waxed paper bags and containers
  • Food stuffs in polymer containers