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Live from Bulgaria: World Environment Day

More than 52% of plastic scrap is being recycling in Bulgaria. This makes the country one of the top performers considering the average EU recycling rate is only 42%. Sorting specialist Tomra organised an exclusive plastics recycling event in Sofia to showcase its recycling equipment running at the new Integra Plastics plant.

Start-up recycling firm Integra Plastics opened its doors yesterday to a group of more than 200 delegates. The special occasion was a tour of the brand-new EUR 40 million plastics recycling facility in Elin Pelin, a small town on the outskirts of Sofia. The ‘unique’ site opened in February and is running successfully, handling  30 000 tonnes of post-consumer plastics.

‘Our specialty is the production of top quality low density polyethylene, high density polyethylene and polypropylene granules – in various colours,’ says Kostas Ziogas, sales & supplies director. He collaborated intensively with sorting technology specialist Tomra to optimise the plant. ‘We are now able to achieve a purity of 99.5% thanks to Tomra,’ he adds. Most of the input comes from Germany. Integra is also in talks with big players in Scandinavia and the Netherlands to source more plastic scrap and widen its circular impact.

The new facility features a line with five different steps; pre-sorting, optical sorting , washing, drying and extrusion. The recycling site operates 24/7, supported by a crew of 85 people. Plastic pellets make up around 65% of the final product. ‘Our recyclates are selling like hot bread,’ Ziogas says with a smile.

Video: Happy Global Environment Day

Besides the plant tour, Tomra also organised a plastics recycling conference. The event coiscided with World Environment Day. ‘That was not by accident’, jokes Tomra senior vice president Tom Eng. A special guest speaker was Kristine Berg, who spoke about her recent 3-week sailing trip to the infamous South Pacific Garbage Patch. She came face-to-face with microplastics and realised that there are a couple of ‘myths’ circulating in the plastics industry and the media.

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