More and more food and beverage plants have committed themselves to increasing the content of recycled materials in their end-of-the-line packaging. It’s precisely here that Krones comes in with its recycling solutions. Ever since 2009, Krones has been deploying its MetaPure technology to close the the life-cycle of a beverage bottle, offering MetaPure W-PET for washing and MetaPure S for decontamination. The portfolio has recently been expanded to include a washing module for polyolefins.
In the MetaPure W-PET, the flakes are washed, by passing them through several process steps (pretreatment, caustic washing and hot post-washing), so as ultimately to obtain pure flakes ideally suited for being processed into fibres or films.
If the PET flakes concerned have been earmarked for future re-use in the food or beverage industry then they are fed into the MetaPure S. The decontamination module processes the washed flakes so as to ensure that they can transformed into food-grade pellets, preforms and films. MetaPure S excels in terms of low energy consumption and gentle material handling.
The recycling of POs (such as HDPE or polypropylene) entails numerous challenges for the process involved. One of these is the recovery of the material, with the resultant side-effects. This is because the packages involved, in Germany or the USA, for example, are collected in household garbage or in separate plastic bins or sacks. Since usually these are not cleaned prior to recycling, the polyolefins are always in contact with organic residues like ketchup, oil, yoghurt, shampoo, household cleaning agents, and any other substances. Downcycling alone, however, is meanwhile no longer the ideal option for dealing with the non-recyclable substances, and there are increasing calls for recycling polyolefins as well, rendering them amenable to high-quality re-use. And in order to meet precisely these requirements, Krones has modified the process approach employed in its MetaPure W-PO washing module, and developed a recycling technology precisely tailored to polyolefins, thus enabling this type of plastic to be processed for creating an ecologically and economically top-quality product.