Aerofloat wash line brings added benefits for plastics recycler

aerofloat wash line

GT Recycling Business Advisor Doug McLean knew that an upgraded water treatment system would help increase the company’s capacity. The flow-on effect the Aerofloat wash line has had on product quality is a welcome addition. 

Doug says that since the Aerofloat system (containing an AeroMBBR and AeroWAVE) was installed at the Geelong, Victoria plant, the end-product of both the flake and extruded plastic has improved.

“The plant has exceeded our expectations,” he says. “It’s significantly improved our process in several areas including environmental, occupational health and safety and water consumption. We’re confident that this new plant will meet the company’s needs going forward.”

GT Recycling is a family-owned recycling company with more than 40 years’ experience in recycling passed through three generations. It processes a range of polyolefin hard and soft plastics including wheelie bins, garden pots, milk crates and PE poly pipe.

Doug says the company plans to double its current capacity by the end of 2022, with a focus on recycling a range of flexible plastics affected by the export ban, which came into effect on 1 July this year.

Part of the expansion was to increase the plant’s washing capacity, which ultimately dictated the need for an upgraded water treatment system. The new system needed to accommodate increased throughput capacity to allow for future growth, improved water quality and reliability.

“We wanted the latest technology that would be reliable and meet our internal and Environment Protection Authority compliance standards,” Doug says. “But we also wanted a water quality that was suitable to be used again in our washing process rather than be disposed of as trade waste.”

GT Recycling was first introduced to Aerofloat technology at a recycling and waste trade exhibition in Melbourne. Doug says Aerofloat got to know the company’s needs before submitting a proposal.

“Aerofloat had undertaken similar projects within the plastic recycling industry, which gave us the confidence to proceed to the next step,” he says.

GT Recycling liaised with Aerofloat engineers, focusing on the requirements of the plant, timing of build and installation and follow-up technical and maintenance support.

Aerofloat engineers offered advice on several suitable placement options for the plant and the final design and layout was completed in line with GT Recycling’s requirements.

The plant was installed and commissioned during a three-week period in May 2022.

“Aerofloat listened, advised and designed a plant that completely met our current and future needs,” Doug says. 

“We’re getting lower water consumption because of the recyclability of the treated water and improved efficiencies with the wash plant and the subsequent extrusion process due to a cleaner product.

“That’s important as we continue to strive for improvement.”


aerofloat wash lineMichael Anderson, Aerofloat General Manager – Engineering and Projects, says for him, that’s what it’s all about.

“Yes, the treatment system will make the water look better and managing it will be easier,” he says. “But at the end of the day, GT Recycling’s business is selling plastic and now they’ve got a better product to sell.

“They’re already noticing the colour of their finished product has improved. Their saleable commodity has improved; that’s something they didn’t expect.

“That’s what we sell.”

The GT Recycling wash plant is a closed loop. Water used is treated and then sent back to the wash line. Michael says there is some water loss due to evaporation and part of the drying process, but far less than the previous system, which would often have to be fully drained and refilled.

A biological step has been added to scrub soluble contaminants from the water and ensure it remains odourless.

Michael says that because cleaner water is being used all the time, there is less pressure on the extruders and less fine plastic making its way into the water.

He says the AeroWAVE can be used in other industries, but it has several advantages which make it ideal for plastics recycling.

“It targets a very specific need where the water quality only has to reach a certain level,” he says. “It’s quite good at handling the sludge.

“That’s what wastewater engineering is, selecting the right product for the right application. As a business, we’re always looking to improve technology.”

GT Recycling’s wastewater treatment system was prefabricated in Sydney and then built on site. The system is capable of treating double the current load. Doug praises the professionalism and knowledge of Michael and the Aerofloat team.

“Commissioning and changeover to the new system was seamless,” he says. “The project was on time and on budget.”  

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