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Partners claim German first in packaging recycling

Stadler and Krones have collaborated in the design and installation of a new sorting and washing plant for Kunststoff Recycling Grünstadt (KRG), a German recycling company serving the plastics processing industry.

The facility for processing post-consumer HDPE and polypropylene (PP) packaging waste is the first of its kind in the country, producing high quality recyclates for the same packaging applications – including food grade material. The plant was designed to produce annually approximately 30 000 tonnes of recyclates that can be returned to the manufacturing cycle. The process delivers a saving of up to 36 100 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year by processing around 38 000 tonnes of plastic waste.

KRG aims to produce high-quality recyclates to meet the demands of branded goods companies and the fast-moving consumer goods sector. Pre-sorted materials coming from light packaging plants are first processed through the sorting line designed and installed by Stadler. With a capacity of approximately 10 tonnes/hour, the line operates in two different modes depending on the feedstock material.
Seven near-infrared sorters separate the remaining material into six product fractions separated by colour. Part of the output materials is fed immediately into two Krones lines, located in the same hall, while the rest is baled and stored for later processing.

‘This plant makes a big step in advanced quality of the recycled material, which can go to challenging applications where reduced odours and even food grade qualities need to be achieved, explains Michael Auburger, product manager recycling solutions at Krones. ‘HDPE and PP packaging can be recycled for the same application again, so that, for example a HDPE shampoo bottle or PP margarine pot will have a second life as a bottle, pot or lid. This was only done for PET bottles until now.’

Stadler project manager Pascal Locher emphasised the collaboration with Krones. ‘Since the two lines are linked to each other, there are interfaces in their controls. For our colleagues from the control engineering department, it was therefore a complex task to coordinate the signal exchange between the lines regarding safety standards and operating modes.’

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