A new recycling plant in Albury/Wodonga will increase the amount of recycled PET plastic produced in Australia each year from local waste.
With onshore plastic processing set to grow, Daniel Fisher, Applied Machinery, details the streamlining ability of high-energy washing.
The onshore consequences of the upcoming waste export ban could see the domestic resource recovery industry swamped by mountains of plastic.
To fully capitalise on this, Daniel Fisher, Applied Machinery Project Manager, says plastic recycling operators need to invest in efficient and high-capacity washing systems.
“The significance of washing is often understated, with importance placed on seemingly more complex processes such as sorting and granulating,” Daniel says.
“But, given the nature of most plastic waste, and the fact it often takes the form of packaging, removing contaminants and impurities efficiently is critical to sustained operations.”
According to Daniel, Applied Machinery’s range of plastic-washing systems are designed for high-performance recovery of rigid and flexible plastics derived from a variety of sources.
“We’re able to facilitate modular systems to tackle HDPE and PET bottles, and depending on application requirements, can provide bale breakers, infeed conveyor belts, pre-shredders for wet or dry size reductions, pre-washers and screw washers,” he says.
In particular, Daniel says Applied Machinery’s HDPE Bottle/Container Washing System is well suited to operators hoping to take advantage of the upcoming domestic plastic processing boom.
Developed by Guangzhou-based equipment manufacturer Genox, the HDPE washing line is designed for rigid plastics.
Daniel says the washing system’s wear-resistant design works to maximise operating time and throughput via consistent processing.
“The high-speed washing system works to liberate plastic flakes from contaminants,” Daniel says.
“The washing tank’s under-water force-washing paddles then work to amplify washing efficiency, while mechanical and thermal drying systems reduce end product moisture.”
Shredding and washing are set at calculated intensities, Daniel says, to avoid over friction and material loss.
“Label separation can also be achieved through advanced wind separation,” he adds.
The system features an inclined friction washer, float-sink washing tank and vertical dewatering machine, before material passes through a zig-zag classifier.
In the current economic and political waste climate, Daniel says investing in a Genox HDPE Bottle/Container Washing System can deliver significant returns on investment.
“The Australian resource recovery industry will see major opportunities over the next few years, so the time is right for facilities to upscale their operations and capitalise on the next generation of plastic processing.”
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Coca-Cola Amatil and Veolia are considering opportunities to establish a recycled plastic processing plant in Australia.
The potential recycling plant will focus on PET plastic, which is used to manufacture plastic bottles.
Coca-Cola Amatil’s Group Managing Director Alison Watkins said a joint project team has been established by the two companies, which will consider the plant’s economic feasibility, size, scale and location, end-to-end requirements and potential integration into each company’s value chains.
Ms Watkins said the joint project team will leverage each company’s expertise and experience in respective parts of the production and recycling process.
Veolia Australia and New Zealand CEO and Managing Director Danny Conlon said the project team will make recommendations to their respective companies in the short-to-medium term.
“We’re delighted to be working with our Amatil colleagues on this important initiative,” Mr Conlon said.
“It comes at a critical time for Australia where we need to be doing more to resolve ongoing issues around plastics and their potential to be recycled. I look forward to future announcements on circular economy solutions.”
Applied Machinery’s plastic washing systems are designed for high performance recovery of rigid or flexible plastics derived from a variety of sources.
The modular systems tackle HDPE bottles, PE films, PP woven bags and PET bottles.
Depending on the application, the plants may comprise a bale breaker, infeed conveyor belt, pre-shredder for wet or dry size reduction, pre-washer to remove sands and dirt and screw washer.
Other features may include a hot washing tank with alkaline (caustic) soda to remove glues and oils, a sink float separation tank to remove non-contaminants and granulator for wet granulation and washing. For high speed washing or material scrubbing, a horizontal friction washer can be applied. In addition, centrifugal dryers, screw presses, thermal drying systems, zig zag classifiers and bag stations are also plant features.
The correct combination, sizing and equipment configuration of the equipment results in a reliable, efficient plastic recycling system producing high-quality materials ideal for sale.
Typical designs cover a PE washing system for recycling materials to high purity and low moisture, such as post-consumer HDPE bottles (with labels), drums and containers and LDPE and LLDPE products.
A PP woven bag recycling line offers a system that minimises the quantities of fines created and keeps material loss to a minimum.
The PET bottle washing system recovers labels and caps from soft drinks and water bottles and produces a clean, uniform-sized PET flake with low moisture levels.
Sophisticated sensor technologies are helping Australian material recovery facilities improve their sorting capacities beyond what is possible with manual sorting.
A new study by the North American Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), based in Washington, has found significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions linked to using recycled plastics in manufacturing new products.
Industry research consultants Franklin Associates, a division of ERG, Lexington, Massachusetts, prepared the report, “Life cycle impacts for postconsumer recycled resins: PET, HDPE and PP.”
The report examines recycling processes for three of the most common types of plastics recycled today: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to the report, using recycled plastic reduced total energy consumption by 79 percent for PET, by 88 percent for HDPE and by eight percent for PP. Using recycled plastics also limited emissions by 67 percent for PET, by 71 percent for HDPE and by 71 percent for PP.
Franklin Associates analysed the energy requirements and environmental impacts of postconsumer recycled plastics as compared with virgin plastics.
The analysis is an update and expansion of a recycled resin study the company completed in 2011 for the APR quantifying the total energy requirements, energy sources, atmospheric pollutants, waterborne pollutants and solid waste that result from producing recycled PET and HDPE from post-consumer plastic.
Steve Alexander, APR president, said the study shows a win-win for companies who incorporate recycled plastic resin into their new products.
“They can improve the environmental sustainability of their products and processes and reduce their energy costs.
“It demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of the full recycling chain for plastic goods – a chain that starts with companies manufacturing recyclable products and ends with consumers buying products made from recycled materials,” he said.
“This report clearly demonstrates the benefits of a renewed commitment to plastic recycling,” said Jamie Camara, CEO of Mexico-based PetStar and chair of The APR board of directors.
“It is critical that North America continues to invest in our recycling infrastructure so that we can expand the material that is collected, sorted and processed for second use. Recycling and using recycled materials are good for manufacturers, consumers and the planet.”
Campbell Arnott’s Australia’s Liza Vernalls explains how the organisation is working to boost the uptake of difficult-to-recycle materials such as soft plastics and PET, while also making it easier for consumers to recycle.
A shift in business practices would support a significant increase in procurement of recyclables, writes Matt Genever, Director Resource Recovery at Sustainability Victoria.
Tonkin + Taylor Waste Sector Director Chris Purchas explains the key considerations for landfill operators in adapting to future disposal and resource recovery trends.