Integra Plastics leads the way in post-consumer film recycling using EREMA technology.
One of the world’s most modern recycling plants began operation in Sofia, Bulgaria, in May 2019. Operated by Integra Plastics, the plant specialises in the recycling of heavily contaminated post-consumer household waste – materials that represent a real challenge to sorting, collecting and recycling technologies.
For Julian Belev, Chief Executive Officer and one of the owners of the newly-founded company, it was clear from the outset that the best technologies available on the market would have to be used to convert this material into high-quality pellets – technologies such as the INrecycinTAREMA 1716 TVEplus RegrindPro recycling plant.
The view at the site of the recycling plant, which was built in just over a year, is impressive. The entire area extends more than 35,000 square metres,12,000 square metres of which are used as production space and 5000 square metres as storage space. It’s an investment in infrastructure, sorting, washing and recycling technology and a laboratory.
“We have now achieved our idea of a fully automatic plastics recycling plant that complies in every respect with the requirements of European legislation for the implementation of recycling management,” Julian says.
He says that by combining all the necessary process steps at one location in a single recycling plant, Integra has a unique position on the market worldwide.
The input material consists of thick-walled post-consumer packaging and film, both of which are material flows that are particularly difficult to recycle due to their contamination. The material comes from Bulgaria and other EU countries and will be used to produce up to 30,000 tonnes of PE and PP recycled pellets annually.
“We want to offer products that meet the increasing expectations of the market, and that deliver consistently high pellet quality as well as a high level of availability,” says Kostas Ziogas, Chief Sales Officer and co owner. “This requires the best technology.”
Following pre-shredding, the mixed household waste films are transported more than one kilometre away to a pre-sorting plant where they are sorted according to polyolefin type and colour. The material is ground, hot washed and dried before the flakes are re-sorted.
The two material streams –transparent/white and coloured – are then each recycled using an INTAREMA 1716 TVEplus RegrindPro system. The recycling system components are designed for a throughput of 1900kg/h for polyethylene and 2200kg/h for polypropylene.
The Preconditioning Unit (PCU) can be quickly set for processing film or regrind material. A further advantage is that initial degassing takes place because the material is already preheated and predried in the PCU. Thanks to patented Counter Current technology, a constantly high output over a very wide temperature range is ensured.
The two recycling plants are equipped with an EREMA twin laser filter, particularly suitable for the kind of post-consumer input material that is processed by Integra. “To save packaging weight, films are becoming thinner and thinner, which increases the relative proportion of impurities,” says Clemens Kitzberger, Business Development Manager, Post Consumer Applications at EREMA Group.
The high-throughput laser filters are installed upstream of the extruder degassing system. Here, the melt temperature is even lower, and the short residence time directly at the screen, thanks to permanent screen cleaning, ensures that impurities such as paper labels, aluminium or foreign polymers originating from multilayer material such as PET or PA are reliably removed even at high levels of contamination.
The twin design, ensures a throughput capacity of 1800-3000kg/h with a variably selectable filtration fineness of 70-200μm. The laser filter is available in filtration units up to 2000μm.
“With the technology we have chosen we are ideally equipped to respond to each individual requirement – to the benefit of our customers,” says Julian.
In Australia EREMA is represented by CEMAC Technologies.
Article printed in Waste Management Review, May 27, 2022