Airlift Separator Featured in Portable Plants & Equipment

Cleaner Compost: Delivering A Near-Pristine Product!

A plastic-removal system works in tandem with a composter’s screen plant to make a near-pristine product.

A wheel loader dumps green waste containing pieces of plastic into a grinder’s hopper. A moment later, that plastic is ground into an infinite number of itty-bitty pieces that are dispersed in the processed material.

This can be a nightmarish scenario for compost producers facing government regulations limiting how much contamination can be present in a finished product. Just ask Bob Dressel, owner of North Mason Fiber Co. in Belfair, Wash., which produces organic compost, landscaping bark and more from raw products such as land-clearing debris, yard waste and fish waste.

For years, Dressel had to live with the contamination and hope his compost was up to spec. Dressel no longer has to worry, though, because of an investment he made in a machine that removes plastic and other lightweight materials from compost.

The machine, the Airlift Separator, removes about 95 percent of the plastic from North Mason’s McCloskey 733 trommel screening plant – and it removes between 50 and 80 percent of plastic on the first pass through it, Dressel says.

“Anything over 70 percent is what most compost producers are going for,” says Jimmy Smith, a manufacturer rep who started with Lane Forest Products 12 years ago and now works for Hawker Corp., which makes the Airlift Separator. “If you can remove more than 50 percent of the plastic on your oversized product, you’re making headway.”

So an achievement of 95 percent removal is that much more remarkable.

“I think the whole industry, including myself, was very skeptical about the Airlift Separator at first,” Dressel says. “They really made some phenomenal improvements in the thing. That says a lot about the piece of equipment. It sometimes takes time to make something really good. The Airlift Separator is one of those things. It’s one of the products we use here at the plant that are made really well.”

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Airlift Separator Featured in When Magazine, June 2011 Issue

Airlift Separator Featured in When Magazine, June 2011 Issue:

Front Cover of When Magazine, June 2011 issue

From the article:

Airlift Separator

Foley said that one of the things that has helped his business to grow in this direction is his use of an Airlift Separator. “With the amount of plastics that there are in food and wood waste, I couldn’t do what I do without this piece of equipment,” he said. “Even though we work diligently to train the folks that bring us yard waste and food waste, for composting, they often will forget and leave pieces of plastic material – bags, wrappers, and other light-weight plastic – in with what they drop off. Once we have composted the material, we are able to screen it and remove the plastic with the Airlift Separator. That gives us the high quality material that we need to make our compost and biosoils.”

“Airlift Separator really does work!”

When it comes to the problems that mulch and compost producers have with residual plastic material that always seems to make its way into yard waste and food waste feed stock. Ned Foley’s situation was similar to every else’s. “We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our compost,” said Foley. “For our compost and biosoils mixes, we need to have as little plastic in the final product as possible. It seems as though there are always some wrappers or plastic bags that make it into the compost pile. So, when we looked for a way to get rid of that unwanted material, that was when a demonstration of the Airlift Separator convinced me that was the answer to our problem.”

Foley said that he purchased the AL200D, diesel powered unit approximately one year ago. Since then, whenever he is screening material that might contain plastics and other unwanted light-weight material, he attaches the Airlift Separator, and high quality compost and mulch is the result.

“We take in a lot of yard and food waste, and even though we are always trying to train our suppliers, it seems like there is always some unwanted plastic in the load,” he said. “After we had seen a demonstration by Brendon Fox of MCB that Jimmy Smith from [Airlift Separator] had arranged, we knew that this was a tool that could really help us. We found that when we are using the [Airlift Separator], it removes 80 to 90 percent of the plastic in the material. We are extremely pleased with how this unit works.”

The Airlift Separator acts like a large vacuum cleaner that typically is mounted on the discharge conveyor of a trommel or as in Foley’s case, an Aggregates Equipment screening unit. For more thorough cleaning a larger, dual fan unit, the AL400D is available which can be used clean both the fines and overs on screener’s conveyors if that is the desired configuration. In any case, the Airlift Separator removes plastics and other lightweight material from compost and mulch without slowing down production. A look in Foley’s discharge bin gives an idea of the kind of unwanted material this system can remove.

“We couldn’t do the kind of composting that we do without the Airlift Separator,” said Foley. “You can just watch the material as it passes under the hose. The plastic just seems to jump off the conveyor while the mulch or compost continues on its way to the stockpile. This machine really works!” For more information on the Airlift Separator, contact Jimmy Smith at (888) 345-9085 or visit their website at

[From the July 2011 issue of When Magazine] At a demonstration of an Airlift Separator, Jimmy Smith showed how mulch laced with unwanted plastic and paper can be screened with ease using a model AL400D Diesel Powered unit mounted to a Wildcat 516 Trommel Screen. Smith explained that recyclers and composters are always looking for ways to remove the unwanted plastic and paper that somehow always seems to make its way into mulch. For recyclers who are looking to produce a value added product such as composted soils or high quality, plastic-free mulch. The Airlift Separator is the ideal tool for the job. More importantly, the Airlift Separator comes in four configurations that include diesel, hydraulic and electric powered models in two sizes.

Smith can be reached at 888 345-9085

News Flash: The Results are In

News Flash: The Results are In:

As reported in the January/February 2011 edition of Resource Recycling, in 2009 Hawker Corporation participated in a research project with Okaloosa County, Florida to remove contaminants from processed yard and storm debris.

During the demonstration in 2009 the Airlift Separator and CEC Screening system processed aged material with compost characteristics. The larger material: overs, and smallest material: fines, were discharged during the screening process leaving the “middles” to be processed for decontamination.

Up against two competitors, The Airlift processed 134 yards per hour, removing 85% of plastic contaminants in comparison to the next closest competitor at 64 yards per hour removing 87% of the contaminants. With efficiency being the bottom line; it’s official, the Airlift Separator has proven to be successful without a decrease in production.

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Okaloosa County News/Press Release – Recycling Demonstration

Okaloosa County News/Press Release – Recycling Demonstration

Okaloosa County
News Release
Media Note/Photos:

Demo process photo; plastic extracted in demo; erosion control logs

Okaloosa County Recycling Division Hosts Recycling Demo: Okaloosa County Recycling hosted several Florida counties for debris separator equipment demonstrations on Wednesday, June 24. Three companies provided demonstrations on how to extract plastic and fines (fines is a material used for top soil like in flower beds or lawns), from processed yard waste, creating compost material for reuse and oversized materials for reuse in an erosion control technology. GeoHay of Crestview provided samples of Erosion Control Logs they produce. Erosion control logs can be reused for storm water, transportation and more.

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Save the Date(s)

Save the Date(s)

The Airlift Separator is going to be attending the USCC 18th Annual Conference and Tradeshow in Orlando this year.

January 24-27, 2010
Wyndham Orlando Resort

Make plans to attend the largest conference and exhibition in North America for the composting, wood waste and organics recycling industry!

More info to come!