UK Plastics Recycler Opens New Processing Line

Originally posted in Recycling Today on April 29, 2014

International Recycling News, Plastics
Closed Loop Recycling expects to increase the capacity at its facility to 55,000 metric tons per year.

RTGE Staff

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Vice Cable (left) and Chris Dow examine the new plastics recycling line at Closed Loop’s Dagenham facility

United Kingdom-based plastics recycling firm Closed Loop Recycling has officially opened a new plastic milk jug processing line at its Dagenham, England, facility. The company, which claims it is the first in the world to recycle both PET and HDPE bottles into food-grade material for food and drink packaging, has invested £12 million that will increase capacity at the plant to 55,000 metric tons per year. Closed Loop Recycling says the additional line will help create “the most advanced plastics purification facility in the U.K.”

Taking part in the commissioning of the plant was the U.K.’s Business Secretary Vice Cable. “This new recycling line will create jobs and growth in a growing green industry,” Cable commented at the ceremony. “The significant investment in the Dagenham plant will also mean less of our plastic bottles being sent to landfill or exported for recycling. It is precisely the sort of project which can support the U.K.’s transition to a green economy.”

Chris Dow, Closed Loop Recycling’s CEO, says, “Recycled milk and water bottles are a massive win for the circular economy. We discussed with the Secretary of State and his team how we can provide economic drivers to reprocess these valuable resources in the U.K., rather than being exported abroad for recycling. We can then work to influence recycling behavior across the supply chain, from consumers to brands, in order to increase collection rates.”

Dow also said the company has established a joint green initiative with TEG, a food recycler located at the East London Sustainable Industries Park. “We will be using waste heat from the TEG facility to heat our wash lines for our recycled plastic, making significant carbon and financial savings.”

Closed Loop Recycling’s Dagenham plant has been operating since December 2008.

http://www.recyclingtoday.com/Article.aspx?article_id=164594

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Aptar Unveils New Recycling Friendly Valve and Liner Systems

Orlando, FL

Last week at the Association of Post-consumer Plastics Recyclers (APR) Technical Committee meeting, we had a major breakthrough for recycling.  For years the PET bottle recycling stream, and often the HDPE stream, has been contaminated by silicone used in valves and liners of dispensing closure systems.

Recently Aptar, a major global closure manufacturer, learned of this issue.  Since the silicone contamination is often caused by the closure valves and liners in items such as ketchup and mustard containers and swivel caps used in some sports drinks; Aptar searched for alternative materials that would not threaten the recycling stream but work equally as well in all applications.   They are promoting a polyolefin based thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) replacement for silicone which will solve the problem.

We, at Envision, have experienced silicone contamination at least six times in our recycled resin production resulting in a $20,000 plus loss in revenue per event.  We are extremely grateful for a solution.  Even though silicone is primarily used in PET bottle applications as an ingredient in closures, many HDPE bales are speckled with PET bottles that have the silicone closures with them.  So, if we miss sorting out the PET bottles prior to our grinding and washing; (although the PET we will sink out), the closure will float along with the silicon valve and liners.

Silicone is a thermoset resin.  It will soften in our extrusion process, go through the screen pack and then reform into the original ground shape.  Often at the HDPE bottle blow molder this ground silicone will go through their extruder, soften in the heat, go through their screen pack, resolidify, and create a hole where the piece of silicone contaminates the wall of the bottle, creating a hole.  Just one ground valve or liner can cause 100’s of blow outs and create major production issues for our customers, causing them to shut down their system, purge out the recycled resin, and reject the silicone contaminated resin.  We will never be able to remove the pieces of silicone once they are our HDPE recycled pellets, making them worthless to our customers.

Having a major closure manufacturer, such as Aptar, come up with an alternative that is no longer a contaminant, but can act as a compatabilizer, (such as TPE is known to be), is music to our ears.  The PET recyclers must be even happier because they often see the silicone contamination in the floatable polyolefin’s that they try to sell.  Let’s hope the Consumer Product Companies; which rely primarily on cost savings when evaluating component material changes, will yet embrace this new technology as a method to improve sustainability.  Kudos to Aptar for creating this fix and bringing it to APR Technical Committee’s attention.

Milk Bottle Recycling Reaches Record Levels in the UK

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From Farmers Guardian, March 3, 2014

This was the claim from plastics company Nampak after a survey conducted by recycling expert Recoup on UK consumer habits.

According to the survey, levels of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic milk bottle recycling increased to an all-time high of 79 per cent in 2013.

Nampak has said plastic milk bottles are now one of the most recycled products in the UK.

The survey estimated 2012 recycling levels saw an estimates 6.9 million pounds of plastic bottles recycled, with 2.1 million pounds believed to be HDPE milk bottles.

Eric Collins, managing director of Nampak Plastics, commented: “We are thrilled with the continued progress being shown in the sector. It is something we feel is incredibly important.

But Steve Morgan, technical manager at Recoup Recycling said more could be done to further increase milk bottle recycling numbers.

Plastic milk bottles in the UK typically contain 35% to 50% recycled HDPE plastic.