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The GT of recycling

Updated: Dec 18, 2023


GT Recycling's Tim McLean, Operations Manager, Doug McLean, Business Manager and Andrew McLean, Production Manager, in front of the new INTAREMA TVEplus 1714 processing line.

Australia’s decision to ban the export of unprocessed plastic waste has opened new opportunities for a Victorian company.

GT Recycling in Geelong has pressed the button on a new flexible plastics recycling line that has been years in the making.

The upgraded plant recycles polypropylene and low-density polyethylene into a pellet suitable for use in manufacturing a range of plastic products within Australia.

Doug McLean, GT Recycling Business Manager, says it aligns well with Victoria’s move toward a circular economy.

“We’ve worked with researchers, including those at Deakin University, to develop and establish new products that can use high-quality, recycled raw plastic material,” Doug says. “A lot of it is designed to replace virgin plastics. “Establishing end markets in Australia has been a focus the past couple of years. We’re confident we’ll be able to market all our product into the domestic market.”

GT Recycling is a family-owned and operated recycling company, drawing on the experience of a team with a combined four decades in the industry.

Doug says when the Federal Government announced plastic export bans, which came into effect in July 2022, GT Recycling could see a gap in the infrastructure that would be required onshore.

The company secured funding from the state and federal government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund for expansion.

“We were exporting flexible plastic at that time,” he says. “It was a natural progression to move into adding value to this product to complement our existing recycling operations in Geelong.”

GT Recycling’s management team had clear goals on the type of material to be recycled and the quality of the end-product to meet customer requirements. Queue CEMAC Technologies, distributors of EREMA recycling and resource recovery equipment.

GT Recycling worked with CEMAC and EREMA in 2015 when it installed an INTAREMA TVEplus® 1108 for a new plastics pelletising line. For its

latest expansion, GT Recycling installed an INTAREMA® TVEplus® 1714.

Eric Paulsen, CEMAC Managing Director, says EREMA has one of the best technologies available to convert contaminated post-consumer plastic waste into a quality end-product, efficiently and economically.

EREMA’s patented preconditioning unit cuts, homogenises, heats, dries, compacts, buffers, and doses the material – all in one step – before it enters the extruder, so the extruder is continuously filled with hot and precompacted material.

Eric says the principle of TVEPlus® is that by putting the melt filtration before extruder degassing there is minimal shear influence during the melting process. This prevents further reduction of the impurities, increases the filtration efficiency and results in greater homogenisation of the melt. He says the INTAREMA® is newly developed technology aimed at absorbing more material in a shorter time.

“The material in the preconditioning unit rotates in the opposite direction to the transport direction of the extruder, which means that the temperature range for optimal extrusion is considerably wider, and the output performance can be significantly increased,” Eric says. “The INTAREMA® TVEplus® 1714 is a larger machine and equipped with the continuous Laserfilter, instead of conventional back-flush filter. The continuous screen cleaning of the Laserfilter ensures that high levels of contamination, such as paper labels, aluminium or foreign polymers, can effectively be removed. The ecoSAVE® execution reduces energy consumption.”

Doug says GT Recycling is focused on installing technology that delivers optimum benefits for environmental and occupational health and safety compliance, while economically producing quality raw material.

In his opinion, EREMA sets the benchmark in extrusion technology, and he’s confident the latest equipment will provide the results the company is looking for.

Previous support from CEMAC, from the planning stage to equipment selection, through to setting up on site and commissioning, is also key to GT Recycling returning to CEMAC.

“CEMAC has the experience and understanding of what is required by recyclers,” Doug says.

“In addition to the EREMA equipment, we’ve got strong backup for spare parts and technology support. It’s comforting to know that we have that support at the end of the phone or at the end of the road.”

The new extruder was commissioned in June 2023 and is capable of processing more than one tonne per hour. Doug plans for the new plant to wind up to three shifts, five days a week and there are further plans for expansion.

“There’s significant demand for recycling services for these particular wastes at the moment and a shortage of infrastructure,” Doug says.

“The quicker we can be running at full capacity the better we minimise the chances of this plastic going to landfill.”

This article was published in the November 2023 addition of Waste Management Review.

CEMAC technologies 03 8400 6066


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