Mecbio: Success story for plastics reuse and recycling

plastic

In an era where sustainability defines the future of manufacturing, the plastic industry faces a pressing challenge: how to make production processes not only more efficient and profitable but also environmentally responsible.

A transition towards higher-value, easily recyclable plastics is a key plank of the National Plastics Plan 2021, a roadmap to addressing the plastics challenge and reducing waste to landfill. 

According to the plan, Australia is missing out on an estimated $419 million of economic value each year by not recovering all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Recognising a need to increase resource recovery and reduce a reliance on virgin products, the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) was established to support investment in new infrastructure to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres, and glass, and implement technologies necessary to close the gap in the circular economy.

Global partners 

Realising this need and opportunity, MECBIO was established with the aim to help clients achieve their sustainability goals through advanced technology and industry-specific environmental services. 

plastics recycling
The Altero Velox range is designed to obtain the best results in post-consumer plastic recycling. Image: Mecbio

MECBIO designs, builds, and services mechanical and biological waste recovery facilities to convert wastes, including plastics, organics and construction and demolition waste, into new streams of use. The team has worked on some of the world’s most advanced treatment facilities and counts Soilco, Repurpose It, Western Composting Technology, and City of Newcastle among its clients. 

It also provides a range of global best practice sorting and processing lines, as well as specialist recycling equipment, to the local market.

“We partner with some of the world’s leading suppliers to assist Australian and New Zealand entities transition to the circular economy,” says Dean Dowie, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. 

One of those partnerships is with Spanish company Altero Recycling Machinery, which specialises in pelletising lines for waste plastics. 

Altero machines are optimised to process a range of plastics from pre-washed agriculture film, to flexible packaging, contaminated post-consumer film, granulated plastic losses from injection, blowing and extrusion machines and food grade applications.

What success looks like

Dean says Altero’s line has revolutionised the production processes of Spanish plastic fabrication company Moyaplast, highlighting a future where sustainability and industrial success go hand in hand. 

The journey began with the manufacturer’s ambitious goal to eliminate waste from its operations. In the competitive field of injection moulding, where precision and quality are paramount, the Moya brothers Manuel and David sought not only to reuse their internal scrap but also to enhance their product line by incorporating post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials, thereby contributing to a circular economy.

Moyaplast, with more than 40 injection moulding lines and a robust international presence, faced the dual challenge of managing industrial scrap and aligning with global sustainability trends. 

The primary goal was to find a solution that could repelletise 100 per cent of their production scrap, thereby reducing waste and enhancing material use. 

The next step of the initiative was to take back manufactured products from customers once their lifecycle ended to recycle them and make new products, again embodying the essence of a circular economy. This process not only minimises waste but also maximises resource efficiency. 

According to Marc Costa Dalmau, Sales Director of Altero, ALTERO VELOX120 plays a crucial role in this cycle, allowing for the integration of both material sources into a constant stream of quality pellets. These pellets are then reused in their injection lines, closing the loop in the production cycle and reducing their environmental footprint.

plastics recycling
Velox granulates plastic waste into pellets, which are then used by plastics companies to create new saleable products. Image: Mecbio

Point of difference

Marc and Dean agree the VELOX line, designed for versatility, efficiency, and superior performance, stands out for its ability to process a range of materials, including both industrial scrap and PCR plastics. They say that by facilitating the integration of post-consumer PP (polypropylene) and HDPE from washing plants, the VELOX line allowed Moyaplast to take a significant step towards circular economy practices and enhanced sustainability operations.

Overcoming limitations

By choosing pelletising over shredding, Moyaplast avoids numerous challenges associated with the latter, such as dust generation, heterogeneous particle sizes, and feeding interruptions. Furthermore, the pelletising process introduces additional benefits, including improved filtration, degassing, and the ability to add additives – enhancements that are not possible with shredding alone. 

“This comprehensive approach allows Moyaplast to improve injection cycles, overall performance and quality control.”

The right balance

Altero’s plastic pelletising technology allows for the creation of high-quality recycled plastic products, contributes to a reduction of industrial plastic waste disposal costs, and creates added value in the form of a saleable product. 

“This success story serves as a powerful model for the industry, demonstrating that it is possible to balance operational efficiency, profitability, and environmental responsibility,” Dean says.

“The pressure and targets demanded by national and state regulations and industry standards in regard to environmental protection and waste minimisation efforts have changed the playing field. 

“Our mission is straightforward: To provide plastic recyclers and manufacturers with a solution that balances efficiency, costs, and service without a hefty price tag and operational costs.” 

MECBIO acts as Altero’s local partner in Australia, bringing best practice technologies and cost-effective solutions for plastic recycling requirements.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution,” Dean says. 

“We adapt our machines to fit the unique requirements of customers, ensuring they get the most out of their investment while achieving their sustainability goals.” 

For more information, visit: www.mecbio.com.au 

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