Applied Machinery helps Close the Loop

close the loop

A new Genox recycling line will assist Close the Loop achieve its vision of Zero waste to landfill.

Zero waste to landfill is Close the Loop’s (CtL) brand promise and what drives the company to help customers achieve their sustainability goals and participate in the circular economy. 

The circular economy makes the most of valuable resources, transforming items that would normally end up in landfills and oceans into useful commodities that can be returned to the supply chain.

“A key role of CtL is bridging the gap between industry and the consumer,” says Jessica Ansell, CtL Marketing Manager. 

“Our aim is to make the process accessible and encourage people and companies to take the next step to recover and recycle difficult products.” 

Founded in 2000 by Melbourne-based Steve Morriss, Close the Loop today has group facilities in the US, Europe, and New Zealand. After a merger with OF Packaging, the entity Close the Loop Group listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2021. The company’s investment potential and long-term prospects were confirmed when it was awarded the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the year.

CtL has several recycling lines, a key part of which revolves around the challenging area of recycling soft plastics. 

To protect products from deterioration, soft plastic packaging typically contains multiple types of plastic joined together in very thin layers. This creates issues at end-of-life, as these materials cannot be separated, and hence provide a low grade of recycling feedstock with limited use. 

CtL specialises in recycling imaging products; ink and toner cartridges, bottles, and the toner itself. It comes as a surprise to many people that toner powder is actually a finely-ground plastic. Close to 100 million cartridges have been recycled over the past 20 years, just in Australia. An impressive number, but tempered by the fact that many still end up in landfill.

The recycled raw material is supplied back to industry partners; cartridges are also returned to the original supplier for remanufacturing. CtL is also a manufacturer of recycled products itself, including mailing satchels and horticulture bags. CtL’s merger with OF Packaging further complemented the company’s focus on more environmentally-friendly packaging products, with a key focus on the supply of recyclable packaging items. 

“We are the largest user of post-consumer mixed soft plastics in Australia, taking large volumes of this highly contaminated material as a feedstock for our asphalt additive product – TonerPlas, and our recycled plastic injection-moulding resin rFlex,” Jessica says.

TonerPlas is a high-performance asphalt additive that improves the longevity of roads and has been used in resurfacing projects across Australia, including the Monash and M80 freeway upgrades in Victoria.

CtL recently installed a new Genox recycling line at its Somerton plant that will handle a diverse range of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) materials including bottles, retail displays, tubs and crates. 

close the loop
Steve Morriss, Close the Loop Founder, checks out the new line.

The end-product, called ‘flake’, will be supplied as a commodity to plastic trading companies – which in turn may be washed and turned back into bottles.

Genox is a combination of the words “Generating Oxygen”, which serves as the cornerstone of the company’s efforts towards creating a better environment through new and innovative technology.

Applied Machinery, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of recycling machinery, is the sole Australian distributor for Genox recycling technology. More than 300 companies in Australia now have Genox equipment installed, making Genox one of Australia’s leading brands of recycling machinery.

“We always go into a competitive tendering process with any new equipment, but we place great importance on trust with any business relationship – and a long-term relationship like we have had with Applied is how that trust is built,” says Steve Morriss, who now goes by the title of Head of Circular Economy.

“Over the years we’ve done a lot of work with David Macdonald from Applied; and more recently with Peter Koueik. We know if there’s any issues they’ll be addressed straight away. That’s one of the key benefits of dealing with a local supplier who has access to full technical support and back-up.

“The installation of our new line was trouble-free; the Applied team was there to deal with any unforeseen issue. And with Genox, we have the reassurance that we are buying equipment that comprises the very latest technology and features.”

The new line includes a feeding platform, conveyor with metal detector, a single shaft shredder and granulator. All of the extraction along the line includes “de-dusting” which removes dust/dirt/fines from the material as it progresses along the line; this ensures the safety and health of the operators.

The dust-proofing also increases the life of the motors. A zig zag (ZZ) classifier separates the plastic from any paper labels and other fines. 

Steve says that with the recent acquisition of another recycling company in the US, and the strong leadership of Group CEO, Joe Foster, the Close the Loop Group will continue to expand and remain at the forefront of circular thinking. People are realising that the world has finite resources and there needs to be a huge effort by all aspects of society to keep non-renewable resources in circulation for longer.

“For me this is not a job,” Steve says, “it’s my life and my passion: to work with like-minded people, companies and government at all levels to transition to a circular economy.”  

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