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Sweden unveils plans for huge plastics recycling hub

Swedish Plastic Recycling (Svensk Plaståtervinning) says it is ‘investing heavily in building the world’s largest and most modern facility for plastic recycling’. The new facility, known as Site Zero, will recycle all plastic packaging from Swedish households with no CO2 emissions.

The state-of-the-art recycling plant, to be built in the city of Motala, will cost around SEK 1 billion (EUR 97.5 million) and is scheduled to open its doors in 2023. It complements an existing facility in Motala and includes a fully automated process with 60 near-infrared (NIR) sensors, a 5 km long conveyor belt and washing and granulation units. The total site will cover 60 000 square metres.

‘We are doubling our capacity and will be able to handle 200 000 tonnes of plastic packaging per year,’ says Mattias Philipsson, ceo of Swedish Plastic Recycling. He points out that the company already handles four types of plastic scrap and Site Zero will enable the sorting and recycling of 12 types.

No packaging will be incinerated, Philipsson insists. ‘Any small parts of plastic that remain after the sorting process are separated to be sent to chemical recycling, or to become new composite products.’

Site Zero will be powered by renewable energy and be ‘completely climate neutral’ owing to its carbon capture storage system. There are also plans to produce renewable energy by covering the building’s large flat roof with solar panels.

‘This major investment creates the prerequisites needed for making Sweden a world leader in plastic recycling,’ Philipsson adds. ‘Being able to do it together with our producer customers and owners, who consist of large parts of the Swedish business community, is very inspiring.’

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is contributing around SEK 180 million to the ambitious recycling project.

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