A boost for plastics recycling capacity in southern California: The rPlanet Earth recycling company has opened a 28 000 m2 facility in Los Angeles. The plant can process up to 38 000 tonnes of food and drink packaging per year, thus claimed to meet demand for ‘a much-needed’ domestic processor of US recovered PET.
The new facility offers a closed-loop process, taking PET bales and convert these into bottle preforms, extruded sheet and thermoform packaging.
Front-end bottle sorting
Krones of Germany supplied its bottle-grade flake production system, including the Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) front-end bottle sorting system. The BHS purification system processes more than 6-tons-per-hour (tph) of baled post-consumer PET and runs nearly 24 hours a day.
The system features BHS screen, Nihot air, NRT optical and Max-AI robotic sorting technologies to produce claimed to produce a highly-pure clear PET product for further processing. Five NRT optical sorters with In-Flight Sorting technology remove metals, mixed plastics and colored PET. The Max-AI AQC-2, a robotic sorter, uses a camera, and two robots for the quality control. Aluminium, metals and mixed plastics are recovered for recycling by other processors.
‘Lowest’ carbon footprint
‘We really are a technology company, says rPlanet Earth ceo Bob Daviduk. ‘We are going to bring technology to bear to improve the way that post-consumer PET is recycled. We will have the lowest carbon footprint of any packaging in the marketplace because of the way we’ve put the plant together.’
‘This system fills the demand for PET from producers and is also a domestic outlet for our MRF operators,’ comments BHS vice president sales & marketing Rich Reardon. ‘The commitment to technology really led to an impressive, automated and high-performance system and we look forward to working with rPlanet Earth and Krones to ensure their continued long-term success.’