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Los Angeles welcomes major plastics recycling facility

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.

Smart technology

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.’

A win-win

‘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.’

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