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LDPE film recycling

Pierpaolo Pecchiari,
Sales Engineer, Sorema (Italy)

Plastic film is part of our everyday life both in our homes and in our production sites. Not surprisingly, it represents a large part of the plastic packaging waste stream.
The handling of this material represents a relevant environmental issue.
The largest fraction of plastic film discarded is low density polyethylene film (LDPE). Various types of post-industrial packaging film These materials represent a (relatively) lowly contaminated stream of pure resins that can be recycled effectively and in an economically viable way with the existing technologies.
After some words about SOREMA and its activities, this presentation illustrates at first some economical figures about the value of PE recycled granules and pellets, compared with virgin resins. The economical interest of PE recycling is shown.
A second subject faced here are the characteristics of recycled PE, and the usage of recycled resins in high added value applications. Mention is made here to the way quality requirements on the final products influence the design of the process — but this topic will be more thoroughly faced during the second and more technical part of the presentation.
Core of the presentation is the illustration of SOREMA technology for PE film recycling. The recycling process is based on cold washing. No use of chemicals is required.
A block scheme of the process is discussed.
The PFD (Process Flow Diagram) of a mid sized system, to process 1000 kg/hour of materials in input, is illustrated. A 3D view of this same system gives an idea of the way it looks in the real life.
System requirements (in terms of utilities and labour) are discussed.
Some figures about process costs are illustrated and discussed.
The last but not less important topic faced here is the environmental impact of operations. As for every washing system, the most relevant issue here is that of waste water treatment and water recycling.
The main points emerged during the presentation are resumed in the conclusions.

 

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