The Changing Face of Plastics Recycling

The Big Story Headline Article in British Plastics & Rubber (Nov/Dec 18 Issue)

The BBC’s Blue Planet II appeared on our television screen in September 2017.  The amazing documentary series highlighted the challenges faced by marine life and generated a global anti-plastic tidal wave that shows no sign of diminishing.  However, has anything actually changed?

Since September 2017, there has been a swathe of political rhetoric culminating in the UK’s Autumn 2018 budget announcements.  Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined several new measures to tackle plastic waste.  This included introducing a new tax from 1 April 2022 on produced or imported plastic packaging that does not include at least a 30 per cent recycled content.

Bunting_Metal_Separation_Module_Recapture_Plastics-7586
Baled cleaned plastic waste

The European parliament is also taking action against plastic waste.  Under the parliament-backed directive, items such as plastic straws, cotton swabs, disposable plastic plates and cutlery would be banned by 2021.  Additionally, 90% of all plastic bottles would be recycled by 2025.

However, the fundamental difficulties in collecting, separating and re-using plastic remain.  In the UK, each council adopts their own recycling strategy.  Households in different regions are told to separate and collect different materials.  Swindon council has taken one step further and is considering burning plastic along with other rubbish rather than sending the material abroad for recycling.  Other councils, such as Basingstoke, has instructed residents to only recycle certain types of plastic.  Despite the Chancellor committing £20 million to tackle plastics and boost recycling, there is no unified country-wide strategy.

bunting_metal_separation_module_recapture_plastics-7611
Baled plastic waste

The successful recycling of any material requires good planning and execution.  Ironically, this must start at the end of the process.  Firstly waste plastic must be clearly categorised into material than is recyclable and unrecyclable, possibly using the global definition proposed by Plastics Recycling Europe and The Association of Plastic Recyclers.  This ensures that recovered plastic waste can be re-used.  Recovering, transporting and then discarding materials than are unrecyclable is costly in terms of effort, money and energy.

Ongoing research and changes in product design, will identify new techniques to broaden the scope of recyclable plastic waste.  The criteria for plastic waste collection will change accordingly.

Secondly. strategically located plastic waste recycling plants are needed to keep transportation to a minimum.  Each plant will receive the same mix of plastic waste, enabling continued development and improvement of the recycling process.  This stops each plant having to develop unique processes to suit the plastic waste collected in one region.

Hanbury Plastics Bunting Overband Magnet-2
Plastic Waste Recycling Plant

By having a clear country-wide recycling collection specification, contamination levels of the plastic waste will reduce.  Separation technology, such as magnetic separators and metal detectors, will still be required, but the purity levels of the end-product will increase.

Bunting Magnetics Drawer Magnets at Ecovyn
Metal contamination removed from granulated plastic waste

Politicians have only introduced these new policies due to the unprecedented reaction from the general public.  However, setting a target without any definitive plan of how to achieve that result may be considered foolish.  Equally, introducing new taxes, that may ultimately be paid by the consumer, is not addressing the key issues that prevent plastic waste from being recycled.  It is time for the politicians to sit down with the industry and agree a proper plan.

For further information about metal separation equipment designed for removing metal during the plastic or plastic product manufacturing process, please visit our website or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website

Photographs taken by Paul Fears Photography

Other Plastics Industry Articles

Scandinavian Exhibitions with Tekemas

Bunting Provide Technical Support at Two Overseas Shows

Local representative Tekemas has exhibited at two Autumn international trade shows in 2018.  The equipment displayed on their stands included a selection of Magnetic Separators.  Both exhibitions proved to be successful, with leads for both magnetic separation and metal detection equipment.

Tekemas is based in Rodovre, Denmark and specialises in providing solutions in the handling and processing of powders and granules.  They represent a number of international equipment and technology suppliers including Wysetech Materials Handling and Matcon.

Scanpack (Gothenburg, Sweden, 23-26 October 2018)

Tekemas Team at Scanpack 18
Tom Higginbottom (far right) with the Tekemas team

Scanpack is an international event for the packaging industry.  Exhibitors showcase solutions for the entire packaging process.  Visitors included managers, marketers, brand managers and others involved in packaging, from conception and design, through to production and logistics.  Representatives from companies based in over 40 countries attend the show.

Bunting’s Sales Engineer, Tom Higginbottom, attended the show.

“Overseas exhibitions provide an ideal opportunity to learn about the local markets,” Tom explained.  “The time I spent with the Tekemas team has been precious.  I was able to provide support with technical information and, potentially more importantly, develop my relationship with the Tekemas engineers.”

FoodTech (Herning, Denmark, 13-15 November 2018)

Tekemas_Stand_FoodTech18_4413
Dave Hills (left) with Fleming Petersen, owner of Tekemas

FoodTech is a food technology event, held every two years in MCH Messecenter Herning.  The exhibition is focused on showcasing the latest technology for the food manufacturing and processing sectors.

Tekemas were supported by Bunting’s Head of Sales, Dave Hills.

“Before I had even left the United Kingdom, Tekemas had arranged meetings on the stand with prospective customers,” said Dave.  “Supporting our local representatives at shows like this is so important.  The time can be used for product and application training as well as developing all-important relationships.  It has been a very successful show.”

Bunting and Master Magnets are continually searching for new overseas representatives in a wide range of industrial sectors.  For further information, contact Dave Hills on dhills@buntingeurope.com.

For further information on Magnetic Separators or Metal Detectors used in removing and detecting metal contamination in food, please visit our website or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website

15 Magnetic Liquids Traps Keep Orange Juice Metal Free

Export Success to Fruit Juice Industry in Spain

In the past 18 months, Bunting has manufactured and supplied 15 Magnetic Liquid Traps to citrus juice producers in Spain.  The magnetic separators are used to capture and remove fine iron from the juice.

Need for Magnetic Separator Protection

Magnetic-Liquid-Trap-Cartridge-md-gasketsFine iron is commonly found in most food processes.  The origin of the metal contamination is often difficult to pinpoint.  Typical sources include:

  • When the fruit is harvested.  Dirt can often have a magnetic constituent and is carried on the surface of the fruit;
  • During transportation.  Even if the fruit is collected in plastic containers, metal contamination can be introduced from the transport (eg rust, metal dust, dirt).
  • When the fruit is processed.  The process of extracting the juice from the orange or grapefruit involves several stages where the fruit is sliced and compressed.  Wear to the process equipment will produce fine metal contamination.

Extracting the Metal Contamination

Due to the fine nature of the metal contamination, high strength magnets are required.  The Bunting Magnetic Liquid Traps are fitted with Neodymium Rare Earth Tube Magnets, the strongest permanent magnets presently available.

20180424_170346
Fine iron contamination removed from fruit juice

The Magnetic Liquid Filters are designed to ensure maximum contact is made between the juice and the magnetic fields by forcing liquids through a tightly spaced grid of magnets.  Ferrous contamination is magnetically extracted from the liquid flow by the extremely powerful Rare Earth magnet design and held firmly on the surface of the Tube Magnets.

Cleaning of the Tube Magnets is simple.  On a designated frequency, determined by the level of contamination, the lid of the Magnetic Liquid Trap is removed.  The Tube Magnets are attached to the lid and are then manually wiped clean.

Dealing With Acidity

Fruit juices are naturally acidic, ranging between 2.00 and 4.80.  This level of acid has the ability to corrode standard welds.  In the Magnetic Liquid Trap, the Tube Magnets are welded onto the lid.  The welds are all to food grade standards.

20180424_161133
Welds eaten away by the acidic juice causing swelling and failure of the magnets

However, if standard welding materials are used, these will pit and corrode over time.  Eventually, the weld will be eaten away, allowing the ingress of liquid into the Tube Magnet casing.  This catastrophically damages the magnets, causing them to swell and lose their magnetic properties.  As the magnet swells, it can also split the outer casing.

Exporting Success

“We are now regularly supplying Liquid Magnetic Traps into Spain,” explained Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  “Our local representative has done a great job in helping the local citrus juice producers.  He understands the industry and fully understands the challenges.”

For further information on Magnetic Separators used in removing metal contamination from fruit juices or for any food processing application, please visit our website or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website