Sweden’s Site Zero began operations Nov. 15. First announced in 2021 following a SEK 1 billion (€87 million) investment by Swedish Plastic Recycling (Svensk Plaståtervinning), the facility is touted as the largest of its kind, and one designed to double the amount of plastic packaging materials being recycled in the Nordic country.
Located in the southern Swedish town of Motala, the recycling facility can sort up to 200,000 metric tons of plastic packaging a year. It can separate up to 12 different types of plastic, in particular polypropylene, high density polyethylene, low density PE, PET trays, PET bottles (colored and clear), PP film, expanded polystyrene, PS, PVC and two grades of polyolefin mixed with metal and non-plastic waste.
Site Zero is now able to send up to 95 percent of the packaging it processes for recycling, up from 47 percent in the old facility, which was only able to sort four kinds of plastic.
Spanning 60,000 square meters, Site Zero includes 60 Near Infra-Red (NIR) sensors, a converyor belt stretching about approximately 5 kilometers able to processes 40 tonnes of mixed plastic waste per hour. By 2025, the site is expected to also include a washing and granulation station.
Any fragments of plastic remaining after the sorting process are separated and sent for chemical recycling, turned into new composite products, or used for energy recovery with carbon capture and storage.
“At Site Zero, zero packaging goes to incineration,” said Mattias Philipsson, CEO of Swedish Plastic Recycling. No other facility in the world can say the same.