Starlinger Technology for first B2B PET Recycling Plant in S.A.

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South Africa’s first B2B PET Recycling Plant operates with Starlinger Technology

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South Africa’s first B2B PET Recycling Plant operates with Starlinger Technology
Extrupet, the biggest PET bottle recycler in South Africa, uses Starlinger iV+ technology to produce PhoenixPET, an rPET brand approved for Coca-Cola products.

The new bottle-to-bottle recycling equipment was officially inaugurated on May 11th, 2015, in Extrupet’s Wadeville plant in Johannesburg and produces recycled resin suitable for food-contact PET packaging and the carbonated drink sector. The recycled PET (rPET) is sold under Extrupet’s brand name PhoenixPET. The plant is the first in South Africa to use Coca-Cola-approved technology to produce bottles for carbonated soft drinks, making the country the first one on the continent to use recycled PET for Coca-Cola products. The 3000 m² PhoenixPET plant is equipped with recycling machinery supplied by Starlinger recycling technology.

Joint Managing Director of Extrupet Chandru Wadhwani (left), Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, President of Coca-Cola Southern Africa Therese Gearhart, and Joint Managing Director of Extrupet Vijay Naidoo, during the official opening of Africa’s first bottle-to-bottle recycling plant. ©Extrupet

Joint Managing Director of Extrupet Chandru Wadhwani (left), Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, President of Coca-Cola Southern Africa Therese Gearhart, and Joint Managing Director of Extrupet Vijay Naidoo, during the official opening of Africa’s first bottle-to-bottle recycling plant. ©Extrupet


Extrupet’s Joint Managing Director, Chandru Wadhwani, states that the project was first conceived three years ago when its existing capacity was approaching its limit. A choice had to be made with regard to which technology to adopt for a new plant as well as what capacity. After extensive investigation of the various options available, which also involved several site visits in Europe, Extrupet chose Starlinger given their exemplary track record in having already set up plants that were actively supplying the Coca-Cola system around the world.

Extrupet’s recoSTAR 165 HC iV+ produces 14,000 tonnes of food-grade recycled PET resin per year.

Extrupet’s recoSTAR 165 HC iV+ produces 14,000 tonnes of food-grade recycled PET resin per year. ©Starlinger

The PET recycling line, a recoSTAR PET 165 HC iV+, is designed for producing food grade recycled PET pellets according to FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) standards. The plant has a production capacity of 1,800 kg/h and will supply 14,000 tonnes of rPET resin per year to the PET packaging industry in South Africa and neighbouring countries. It will divert an additional 22,000 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles from landfills each year and create income opportunities in PET bottle collection for an estimated 15,000 people.


Quality – a key factor for food-grade rPET

The high quality of the produced rPET plays a key role in obtaining food grade approvals, especially from brand owners such as Coca-Cola. Extrupet’s PET recycling extruder is equipped with an in-line quality control system that monitors the color and IV (intrinsic viscosity) of the produced pellets. An online color spectrophotometer constantly measures the color values, ensuring uniform color of the rPET. Color variations are detected immediately so that off-spec production and rejects are kept to a minimum. The recycling line automatically adjusts operation parameters to reach the desired IV level after it has been set on the control panel. During production the IV level is monitored permanently and parameters readjusted if necessary. This avoids IV variations after the extruder and guarantees very constant IV values already during pellet production.

Thorough pre-drying of the input material (washed bottle flakes) as well as high-vacuum degassing and melt filtration ensure high melt quality in the extrusion process. In the downstream inline SSP reactor the IV level of the produced pellets is increased to the desired level. Organic and volatile components and acetaldehyde are removed, achieving excellent decontamination results. The FIFO (first-in first-out) treatment of both the flakes in the dryer before the extrusion process and the pellets in the continuous SSP process after extrusion ensures consistent residence time, leading to outstanding decontamination efficiency. For thorough quality control and traceability, the recycling line is equipped with an online archiving system of process data.

Closing the Loop

Based in Wadeville, Gauteng, Extrupet produces food-grade rPET from post-consumer collection since 2000 and draws on a lot of experience in PET recycling, supplying to producers of polyester filament and staple fiber, geotextiles, PET strappings, PET sheet, thermoforms, and PET bottles. Their brand for food-grade rPET, PhoenixPET, was launched in 2010 and is used by many of the top South African retailers in their products. Extrupet is one of the leading recycling partners of PETCO, the industry body for PET recycling in South Africa.

Starlinger recycling technology is one of the foremost suppliers of PET recycling machinery for bottle-to-bottle applications and other food grade applications and has installed high-end PET bottle-to-bottle recycling systems with a total name plate capacity of more than 450,000 tons per year all over the world. The recoSTAR PET iV+ technology ensures the production of virgin-like rPET suitable for direct food contact and has been approved by national and international authorities such as FDA and EFSA as well as various brand owners.

www.extrupet.com
www.recycling.starlinger.com
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