Two recyclers in the United Kingdom plan to make a blend of recycled and virgin high density polyethylene that can be used in food-grade containers.
Both companies will recycle HDPE milk bottles.
Chris Dow, managing director of London-based Closed Loop London, said that starting next spring, his company will recycle 16 million pounds of HDPE annually at its £13 million ($26 million) plant under construction in Dagenham, near London. The plant, which is to start operating in March, also will recycle PET into resin and flake that can be used to make food-grade containers.
The second company, Waste Exchange Services Ltd. in Wilton, England, said July 31 it is building a 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot plant to recycle HDPE for food-grade containers.
James Donaldson, managing director and consultant for the venture, said sorting equipment for the expansion will cost £1.25 million ($2.5 million) - twice the cost of conventional HDPE sorting equipment for recycling HDPE into nonfood-grade flake.
WES expects its HDPE recycling plant to begin operating in February and to be certified to produce food-grade resin in May or June. The plant will produce 24 million pounds annually, Donaldson said.
Both firms have supply agreements. Closed Loop will gets its supply from Veolia Environmental Services, one of the largest waste haulers in the United Kingdom, while WES will get its supply from its new parent, waste management firm Greenstar.
Container maker Nampak Plastics Europe Ltd. of Newport Pagnell, England, has agreed to buy recycled HDPE from Closed Loop to make food-grade bottles with 10 percent recycled content. Nampak expects to make 30 percent recycled-contact food-grade bottles by 2009.
Donaldson said WES will sign a similar exclusive contract with a major milk bottle manufacturer.
Both firms will use Vacurema vacuum sorting technology from Erema Engineering Recycling Maschinen und Anlagen GmbH in Ansfelden/Linz Austria, but will use different wash systems.
Closed Loop's Dow said the process uses infrared optical scanners for separation. The bottles are flaked and washed in a 2 percent caustic solution to remove contaminates. Closed Loop, a subsidiary of Visy Closed Loop in Melbourne, Australia, is using a wash system from B+B Anlagenbau GmbH of TÃ¶nisvorst, Germany.
WES is using its own proprietary wash system that Donaldson claims uses less water and power than other systems, requires less effluent treatment and takes less manpower to operate.