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EREMA technology closes the loop on post-consumer plastics

An additional 650,000 tonnes a year of waste, including plastic, paper, glass, and tyres, will flood Australia’s recycling industry when the full waste export ban comes into effect in mid-2024, according to the Library of Congress.

Landfill will likely be the destination for many of the plastics, particularly film, without mechanical drivers for a circular economy.

Eric Paulsen, Managing Director CEMAC technologies, says the latest EREMA technology, the INTAREMA TVEplus, closes the loop on post-consumer plastics such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE).

“It’s the most advanced technology to take post-consumer and post-industrial use film back to high end materials for reuse,” Eric says. 

“While clear plastics and post-industrial plastics are relatively easy to recycle; contaminated industrial and post-consumer plastics can be difficult. Due to the specific design using continuous melt filtration and if need be, double filtration, the extrusion process of the INTAREMA TVEplus can handle a much more difficult infeed, in combination with the correct sorting and washing technology.

“It can take a high level of difficult materials and process them back into other products.”

Heavily printed films, LDPE washed flakes, polyethylene (PE) film with paper labels, PE washed film flakes and pallet wrap can all be recycled with the INTAREMA TVEplus. Serbian waste process Brzn Plast is using the technology to recycle film collected from household waste to produce new films for various applications including for the construction industry.

INTAREMA TVEplus extruder system with double filtration. Image: EREMA

Brzn Plast processes only LDPE and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) waste. One hundred per cent of the recycled pellets are then used in the company’s own blown film line to produce PE film from 35 to 500 micrometres.

“We don’t consider this to be waste, but raw material we can use again to make high-quality products, so it doesn’t end up in landfill or being incinerated,” says owner Dejan Simic. “Of course, that only works with the right technology, which we  found in terms of extrusion at EREMA.”

Eric says the patented INTAREMA TVEplus extruder system with double filtration is a class of its own when it comes to recycling heavily contaminated material otherwise be difficult to process.

How it works

Feeding is automatic and according to customer requirements. In the preconditioning unit the material is cut, mixed, heated, dried, pre-compacted and buffered. Next the extruder is filled continuously with hot, pre-compacted material.

In the extruder screw, the material is plasticised and degassed in reverse. At the end of the plasticising zone, the melt is directed out of the extruder, cleaned in the fully automatic self-cleaning filter, and returned back to the extruder.

The final homogenisation of the melt takes place after the melt filter. In the subsequent high performance degassing zone, the filtered and homogenised material is degassed. The melt is then conveyed to the respective tool, such as a pelletiser, at low pressure.

Additional technology such as pellet flusher and the Refresher technology can be linked to the machine to eliminate the odours that can occur when recycling post-consumer plastics, making the product suitable for consumer applications.

The INTAREMA TVEplus is in use across Australia producing pellets for film plastic and non-bag applications. But the benefits go beyond technological. Cost savings include reduced energy consumption – up to 25 per cent at Brzn Plast compared to operating its old recycling machinery – and less waste because of the quality of the recycled pellets.

“It’s the next step in plastics recycling and sets an example of the quality of recyclate that is possible,” says Eric.

“Post-consumer plastics is a big headache for recyclers. This is one piece of the puzzle to avoid sending it to landfill. The reality is, you can make money with recycling, and you can save energy.”

CEMAC technologies, a distributor of EREMA products, brings together 30 years’ experience in engineering and supplying resource recovery technologies to Australia and New Zealand. 

It can supply end-to-end solutions for varied waste streams including plastic, paper, metals, organics, wood, and industrial wastes.

A Melbourne warehouse supplies essential spares, engineering solutions and services across Australia. 

This article appeared in Waste Management Review, April 2024.

For more information contact us.

(03) 8400 6066


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