Since the announcement last year of China’s import ban on plastic waste, investment in sorting and recycling plants across Europe has increased dramatically. China, which had long been the world’s largest destination for paper, plastic and other recyclables, phased in import restrictions in January 2018.
Increasing capacity for recycling plastics
In Europe, the installed capacity for recycling flexible polyethylene has been increasing significantly in recent years. Since 2015, the installed capacity for recycling flexible PE has grown approximately from 1.5M/t per year to 2.3M/t per year. Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland and France represent nearly two thirds of the installed recycling capacity. Their sources of flexible PE plastics waste are predominantly commercial and retail, then from production, agriculture and household. Earlier this week ABC news reported a similar boom to recycling plants in the US. Interestingly, with some of the investment coming from Chinese companies that are interested in accessing wastepaper or flattened bottles as raw materials for manufacturing.
Drying using less energy
The Runi dewatering screw press is working successfully in a number of overseas plants, providing great results drying plastic flake prior to extrusion. The Runi SK370 Screw compactor can achieve 90-95% dry content processing washed LDPE-film flakes. We believe the UK market could also be reaping the same benefits.
The Runi system has been supplied to a number of processors in Europe, some new build and some for existing operations to reduce the amount of energy consumed during the drying process with great results. Traditionally, the drying process has been carried out using hot air, centrifuging and agglomerating; this process demands a large amount of energy. With the Runi system, we can increase the dry matter content of the PE film from 60% to 90% with a low energy consumption of about 24 kW per 1,000 kg PE film. An added advantage is that where the screw compactor is installed the overall process will be faster and increase capacity on the whole line.
The SK370 has been developed to operate on a fully automatic production line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you would like to find out more about the Runi, visit us on stand C2 at Letsrecycle Live this week.