Is Plastic the Recycling Pantomime Villain?

Pressure Grows on Plastics and the Environment

In 2017 the media has gradually increased the pressure on the plastics industry by highlighting the effect of waste plastic in our global environment.  This focus shows no sign of going away, with the UN oceans chief stating that Ocean plastic is a ‘planetary crisis’.  

plastic-trash-in-oceans-and-waterways

Ironically, in many cases plastics are primarily used because they reduce weight and thus save energy and our natural resources.  Plastic packaging also significantly reduces food waste by keeping it fresh and is used when transporting food around the globe.

The world’s first fully synthetic plastic dates back to 1907 when the material bakelite was invented in New York by Leo Baekeland.  He also coined the term ‘plastics’.  Since then plastic has become one of the most versatile and used materials on the planet.

So why have we fallen out of love with plastic?

In July, we reported that academics were predicting that there would be 12 million metric tonnes of plastic being in landfill or the natural environment by 2050.  The recent David Attenborough nature series Blue Planet II shown on BBC1 has shown how waste plastic is found in our oceans, even reaching the depths of the Mariana Trench.

However, as highlighted by the British Plastics Federation at the UK’s waste and recycling show RWM (held in Birmingham, UK September 2017), the ‘plastic waste’ problem is complicated.

bunting_metal_separation_module_recapture_plastics-7611The fundamental global problem is that 2 million people do not have access to solid waste collection (United Nations).  The properties of plastic that make it so useful in our everyday lives also makes it difficult to breakdown and easy to get blown and transported away from the rubbish dump and into the local environment.  Gradually, this plastic waste will migrate down to the sea.

The larger problem is the origin of plastic waste.  In the developed world of the USA and Europe, investment in research and technology means that those countries only contribute approximately 2% of the plastic found in oceans.  82% is estimated to originate in Asia (The British Plastics Federation).

The problem is not just a ‘plastic waste’ issue but a ‘waste’ issue in general.  Plastic is not the only product being thrown away and ending up in our oceans.  Industrial waste is a huge problem, but is presently not the focus of attention.  In many developing countries dealing with waste is simply not their most important problem to address.  Malnutrition, housing, transport, jobs are all higher on the list of priorities.

Plastic has become waste’s ‘pantomime villain’.

This global problem needs a global solution.  There is no doubt that the designers of plastic products have a huge responsibility and need to consider the consequences of ideas such as introducing plastic microbeads into cosmetic products.

Bunting BPI-6151In the UK, we presently recycle 29% of our plastic and our target for 2020 is 57%.  The figure is so low due to the complexity of the process and economics.  Magnetic Separators, Eddy Current Separators and Metal Detectors remove metal and there is other technology to sort by colour and plastic type.  However, producing a useful plastic from waste that can be introduced as a raw material into primary plastic production (such as happens with aluminium and steel) is presently exceptionally difficult.  Until that happens, plastic waste will continue to pose a problem.

For further information on separating metal from plastics during the production of the virgin product or during the recycling process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Other articles on Plastics Recycling include:

Environmental Issues Highlighted at Interplas 2017

Interplas Exhibition Well Supported by Plastics Industry 

On the morning of day 2 of the Interplas 2017 exhibition (26th – 28th September, NEC, Birmingham, UK), BBC Radio 5 Live featured a news item reporting that UK pub operator, JD Weatherspoon, had decided to stop using plastic straws.  This announcement highlighted the challenges facing the plastics sector.

Bunting Magnetics Europe at Interplas 2017

Interplas 2017 is the UK’s premier show for the plastics sector and proved to be a great success.  As experienced at many UK trade exhibitions, the footfall was not as seen at shows in the USA, Germany or other European countries, but the visitors to the Bunting stand had specific metal contamination issues in their plastics production process that needed a solution.

However, plastics and their environmental impact continue to hit the headlines.  Indeed, there were two large posters on the stand of the British Plastics Federation asking:

“As we supply equipment both to companies manufacturing primary plastic products and recycling plastics, we see the problem from both sides,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.Bunting Magnetics Europe at Interplas 2017

“Even when manufacturing primary plastics, it has been common and good practice for companies to recycle and reuse their plastic waste for many years.  Indeed, this often necessitates the need for Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors, removing any rogue metal introduced during this recycling process.”

“However, the real challenge is collecting, processing and then producing a usable plastic product from recovered secondary plastic materials.  Again, we have installed Metal Separation Systems to remove ferrous and non-ferrous metals (eg at Recapture Plastics), but there remain challenges with the end market for the final recycling-sourced plastic product.”

There appears to be a growing appetite for focusing on the issue of plastics in the environment.  The implementation of charges for plastic bags by firstly the Welsh, and then the UK governments may be the first of many initiatives to reduce the use of plastic products.  The latest announcement by JD Weatherspoon about banning plastic straws is expected to be followed by similar announcements by other major coffee shops and food outlets.

At Interplas 2017, the vast majority of the exhibitors were focused on primary plastic production.  With the ever-increasing global focus on environmental issues, we wonder how different the exhibitor and visitor make-up will be at Interplas 2020.

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors for removing metal during the primary plastic production process or in a recycling operation, please contact us on:

 

Getting Metal Out of Plastic on the Bunting Stand at Interplas 2017

Bunting Magnetics Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors at UK Plastics Show

The latest Magnetic Separation and Metal Detection technology will be on display on the Bunting Magnetics Europe stand (Hall 4, Stand H11) at Interplas 2017 (NEC, Birmingham, UK, 26th – 28th September 2017).

Bunting FFS Magnet-0064A
Bunting FF Drawer Grate Magnet

Bunting Magnetics is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors.  The European manufacturing headquarters are based in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, UK and they have an extensive overseas network of distributors and marketing agents.  In January 2017, the company acquired Master Magnets, significantly expanding their range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors.

“Interplas is the number one exhibition for the plastics sector in the UK,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales, “and the show gives us a great opportunity to meet many existing and potentially new customers.”

Bunting Magnetics has a strong global relationship with the plastics sector.  Many of their Magnetic Separators have been designed specifically for use in the manufacture and recycling of plastics and plastic products.

The Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors on the Bunting stand at Interplas are designed to capture, identify and remove metal contamination.  The presence of rogue metal damages processing equipment and affects the end-product quality and reject rates.

Bunting BPI-6151

The FF Drawer Grate Magnet is specifically designed for removing magnetically-susceptible particles from plastic.  The standard model has 2 banks of Neodymium Rare Earth Tube Magnets mounted inside a sealed housing.  Other variations are available including a low profile design for positioning underneath large hoppers and silos. Magnetic Separators with Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets remove even the smallest magnetically-susceptible particles.  On the stand will be examples of extremely strong Magnetic Grates, Plate Magnets, Tube Magnets, and the industry-standard FF Drawer Grate Magnet.  Visitors will be invited to test the magnetic strength for themselves.

Bunting Magnetics Europe at RWM16“This combination [FF Drawer Grate Magnet and the quickTRON Metal Detector] offers the best method of removing metal from free-falling materials,” explained Dave Hills.  “The Magnetic Separator captures and holds any magnetically attracted metals such as steel screws, bolts, steel slithers from worn equipment, and even work-hardened stainless steel.  This always proves to be the bulk of the metal contamination.For a complete metal separation solution, the FF Drawer Grate Magnet is fitted above a quickTRON Metal Detector.  The Metal Detector then identifies and rejects any non-ferrous metals.

“Any remaining metal will be identified as it passes through the Metal Detector and then ejected.  The cleansed plastic can then proceed safety into the next stage of the process, whether than is to the extruder or granulator.”

A working, production-sized model of the combined FF Drawer Grate Magnet and quickTRON Metal Detector will be on the Bunting stand at Interplas.  Regular demonstrations will enable visitors to witness the capabilities of the complete metal separation system.

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pTRON Metal Detector

A range of pTRON Metal Detectors designed for use in Pneumatic transportation lines will also be on display on the Bunting stand.

With the acquisition of Master Magnets, Bunting also has an extensive range of Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators for the recycling sector.

“The combined experience of Bunting and Master Magnets means that we have a solution for most metal separation problems.  The Master Magnets Eddy Current Separator is an industry standard and is used to remove non-ferrous metals from plastics in recycling operations across the world,” said Dave Hills.

For further information on the Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors that will be on show at the Interplas 2017 exhibition, please contact us on:

Plastics and the Environment

The Necessity of a Global Strategy for Plastics Waste

Since 1950, it is estimated that 8.3 million metric tonnes of virgin plastics have been produced.  Of this, 6.3 million metric tonnes has become waste, with 9% being recycled and 12% incinerated.  This leaves 79% that is accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.

The report written by Geyer, Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law is concerning with a prediction of 12 million metric tonnes of plastic being in landfill or the natural environment by 2050.

Hanbury Plastics Bunting Overband Magnet-7975In the UK, organisations such as The British Plastics Federation (BPF) identify sustainability as being key to the future growth of the plastics sector.  They report that the UK uses over 5 million tonnes of plastic each year of which an estimated 29% is currently being recovered or recycled.  The UK has a plastics recycling target of 57% by 2020 and the BPF and Plastics Europe with the support of WRAP are implementing the Plastics Industry Recycing Action Plan (PIRAP) to help meet this target.  However, increasing the amount of plastic being recovered or recycled by 28% in 3 years appears to be exceptionally challenging and maybe unreachable.

The application of plastics technology continues to grow, with the UK launching a new plastic £10 note in September 2017.  And this is because plastics technology produces such versatile and resilient products, properties that make it equally difficult to manage once it has been used and becomes waste.

Designing plastic products to enable easy reuse and recycling appears to be the key.  However, often the aesthetic appearance of a plastic packaging product takes precedence over the post-use waste functionality.

Bunting_Metal_Separation_Module_Recapture_Plastics-7590

As an equipment supplier, we understand the difficulties of recycling plastics.  Even though we can remove the metal contamination with Magnetic Separators, Eddy Current Separators, and Metal Detectors, a substantial amount of further processing is required with colour and plastic type separation is often required.  We will be exhibiting at Interplas 2017 (NEC, Birmingam, UK 26th – 28th September), the UK’s premier show for the plastics sector, and it will be interesting to see and hear the ideas and thoughts of the industry.

Designers of plastic products, especially packaging, need to be creative and give reuse and recycling a higher priority during the concept phase.  With the prediction of an ever-increasing production of plastic, a workable environmental strategy has never been more important.

For further information on separating metal from plastics during the production of the virgin product or during the recycling process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Other articles on Plastics Recycling include:

Export Success at FIP Solution Plastique Exhibition

Bunting Magnetics Support BMS France at Plastics Show in France

Dave Hills, Bunting Europe’s Head of Sales, was on the stand of local distributor, BMS France for the duration of the major annual international plastics exhibition, FIP Solution Plastique, held in Lyon, France between 13th and 16th June 2017.  Dave gave us this report:

“Last week [13th to 16th June] it was hot and humid in Lyon.  And it was debatable whether the air conditioning in the exhibition centre was actually working.  However, the turnout for the show was fantastic.

FIP Solution Plastique is the number 1 show for the plastics sector in France.  There was a technically and globally diverse group of exhibitors present, all specialising in working in the plastics industry.

We were present to support our local distributor BMS France.  Being on the stand gave me the opportunity to develop relationships with the BMS team, deliver some product training, and also learn about the plastics market in France.  I also had the opportunity to meet the BMS Spain team, based in Barcelona.

It was also good to meet and talk with other equipment suppliers, many of who had equipment on display at the show.  It was interesting to hear their feedback on present market conditions.  We find exports visits such as this invaluable.

Bunting_FIP_Solution_Plastique_France-1987

Along with our Metal Detectors and Magnetic Separators, BMS had a wide range of equipment on the stand.  There were 3 operating Boy Injection Moulding Machines on one stand and a Woojin Injection Moulding Machine on a 2nd stand.

There were also 5 Wanner Granulators, and Pixargus had a live demonstration of their unique surface inspection and dimension measurement system.

The extensive range of products and the interactive nature of the BMS France stand made it one of the busiest at the show.

Bunting_FIP_Solutions_Plastique_17-1985

It was interesting to think that all of the aforementioned equipment relies on the plastic pellets and raw materials being metal-free.  And getting metal out of plastic is our speciality.

BMS France was able to talk to visitors about a complete solution, with demonstrations of the quickTRON 03R Metal Detector and FF Drawer Filter Magnet removing both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Being in France also gave me an opportunity to hear people’s thoughts about BREXIT.  Unlike some other European countries that I have visited since the referendum, people in France have a very negative opinion about the UK leaving the EU.  In fact, many people asked whether the decision could be overturned.  This just highlights the importance of a negotiated exit that involves free trade.

However, the atmosphere at the exhibition was very positive.  Indeed, BMS France sold 2 Injection Moulding Machines at the show, which was fantastic.  And both will be protected by Bunting Metal Detectors and Magnetic Separators.

An excellent show and we will be back in 2018.”

For further details on the Bunting range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used to remove metal from virgin and recycled plastic, please contact our technical sales team on:

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Metal Detectors and Magnetic Separators at FIP Solution Plastique

Bunting Support BMS France at Major Plastics Show in France

Bunting Magnetics Europe distributor, BMS France, is exhibiting Metal Detectors and Magnetic Separators on stand D16/E13 at the FIP Solution Plastique show in Lyon, France (13th to 16th June 2017).  FIP Plastique Plastique has been the number 1 show for the plastics sector in France for over 30 years.

BMS France represent Bunting in France, providing local technical support to companies producing and recycling plastics.  BMS are based in Pringy and manufacture and distribute a wide range of products and equipment for the plastics industry.

Bunting_FIP_Solutions_Plastique_17-1982

“FIP provides the ideal platform to showcase a wide range of metal separation equipment,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  Dave will be manning the stand with the BMS France team in Lyon.

On the stand, BMS will be showcasing Bunting equipment including:

Quicktron Metal Detector

Gravity free-fall style metal separators are designed specifically to isolate and separate any contaminated material moving in the product flow.  Ferrous and non-ferrous metals are automatically detected and removed from the product flow, without any interruption in the production process.

FF Drawer Filter Magnets

FF Series Draw Magnets are perfectly suited for collecting and separating contaminant ferrous metal from gravity fed, dry, free flowing materials.  Housed inside are the extremely strong Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets which capture and hold small pieces of ferrous metal contaminant.  Made specifically for the plastics industry, this is the only available drawer magnet design that features temperature-compensated rare earth magnets.Bunting_FIP_Solutions_Plastique_17-1985

Grate Magnets

Grate Magnets or Magnetic Grates are manufactured with a 25mm Tube Magnet from high quality 304 Stainless Steel, with 316 Stainless Steel as an option for high corrosive applications.  They are available for Square or Round Openings and with optional baffles.  Standard sizes range from 100mm to 1000mm.  These Grate Magnets can be placed in hoppers or feed pipes to collect ferrous metals and are ideally suited when they can be easily removed for cleaning.

“As a leading supplier to the plastics industry, it is important that we are here at FIP.  It gives us the opportunity to meet and talk to plastic producers about metal contamination issues,” said Dave.

For further details on the Bunting range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used to remove metal from virgin and recycled plastic, please contact our technical sales team on:

Other Articles Related to Plastics Recycling

PowerPoint Presentation

HFS Drawer Magnet Removes Metal from Recycled Plastics

French Plastics Recycling Operation Installs Bunting Drawer Magnet

The latest HS Drawer Magnet has just been boxed ready for despatch to a Plastics Recycling company in France.  The Magnetic Separator was manufactured in the Bunting Magnetics European manufacturing facility in Berkhamsted, UK.

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The French Plastics Recycling operation will install the HS Drawer Magnet to capture and remove ferrous metal contamination from the reclaimed plastic.

HFS Drawer Magnets are commonly used in virgin and secondary plastic processing operations.  The Magnetic Separator is equipped with powerful Neodymium Rare Earth Tube Magnets which enable the capture of both very fine iron and also work-hardened Stainless Steel.

How the HFS Drawer Magnet Works

In operation, material falls under gravity into the opening of the HFS Drawer Magnet.  Inside the housing are two rows of Tube Magnets, staggered to ensure that all the product has to pass over the surface of a magnet.  The magnetically susceptible particles are attracted and held onto the surface of the Tube Magnet, whilst non-magnetic material passes through.

Bunting Grate Magnet

The HFS design of Drawer Magnet enables easy-cleaning of the Tube Magnets.  Unlike other designs of Easy-Clean Grate Magnet, the Tube Magnets are not positioned within an outer tube and are in direct contact with the product.  This ensures maximum magnetic particle capture.

When the Tube Magnets need to be cleaned (daily cleaning is a recommended minimum requirement), the extended Tube Magnets are manually pulled outside the housing using an external handle.  Any captured magnetic material is stopped from being pulled outside the housing by specially designed Grommets.  These Grommets are positioned in the side of the housing and fitted tightly around each Tube Magnet.  Each Tube Magnet has a non-magnetic tapered end which, on reaching the Grommet, allows the captured metal contamination to fall into a separate collection bin.  The Tube Magnets are then fully cleaned and ready to be re-introduced into the product stream.

Typical Features of the HFS Drawer Magnet

  • For Gravity Flow Applications in All Industries;
  • Configurable design to suit the flow of materials and separation required;
  • High duty construction, for long life;
  • Large range of sizes, magnet types and finishes available;
  • Easily fitted into existing systems, optional  top and bottom transitions available;

For further details on the Bunting range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used to remove metal from virgin and recycled plastic, please contact our technical sales team on:

Other Articles Related to Plastics Recycling

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Recyclable Product Design is vital to meet Future Recycling Targets

Is Our Environmental Future Simply Down to Design?

Technology that enables the separation of one or more materials from another has been essential even before the industrial revolution.  The more recent global necessity for the reclamation, reuse and recycling of materials has driven equipment developers to develop a wide range of separation systems to separate and purify materials such as metal, plastic and glass.  Separation is achieved using magnetics, infrared, metal detecting coils and X-Ray.

However, irrespective of the ability of the separation technology, successful separation is governed by the proportion of liberation.  This means that materials that need to be separated are free from each other.

Liberation is an age-old problem and one originally encountered in the mining and mineral processing industry.  An ore would be mined and then crushed to liberate valuable minerals.  Separation would then occur using magnetic separation, density tables, screens and other such technology, and the ability to separate and produce clean, valuable ore would dictate the viability and life of the mining operation.

The recycling industry has adopted very similar technology, with a focus on segregation, liberation, and separation.  This applies to all sectors of recycling irrespective of the material being processed.  The complexity of the recycling process is dictated by the material, and therein lies the problem.Bunting Vulcanis--2

Separation technology will continue to evolve.  There are new systems to magnetically separation stainless steel and PCBs and sensor-based sorters can be tuned to achieve incredible levels of separation.  Even robotics technology is entering the separation field.

Nevertheless, near 100% separation is not possible without good liberation and, although the technology for crushing, shredding and granulating is excellent, the recycling industry needs some new thinking from the designers of the primary products.

Too often, products are designed with different materials for no other reason that aesthetics.  Packaging is a prime example and although there have been advances made (eg not having metal tops of plastic bottles), there needs to be a complete rethink with a focus on the recyclability of a product.  The eventual recyclability of a product should bear more weight in the design criteria of a product than the appearance.  Why use several different types of plastic in one packaging product when one will suffice?plastic-bottles

Clever and forward thinking product design will make separation at all stages of the process easier and improve recycling rates.  This is an manufacturing industry issue and action is needed before the Government decides to introduce complex and unworkable legislation.  Designers should work closely with the recycling industry to understand what materials can be separated and how.  Improved designs will potentially reduce the cost of processing, increase the viability of the recycling operations, and have a positive impact on our environment.

Implementing such fundamental changes to the way products are designed will enable countries to reach the EU recycling target of 65% before 2030.  However, whether product designers list recyclability as one of the primary specifications remains questionable.

For further information on the range of metal separation equipment available from Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets, please contact us on:

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

 

Bunting Europe Joins British Plastics Federation

BPF Important for Bunting’s Continued Growth

Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd has joined the British Plastics Federation (BPF).

“Supplying Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors into the Plastics sector is one of the cornerstones of our business and we felt that it was important to join the UK industry’s leading representative body,” explained Dave Hills, our Head of Sales.

Established in 1933, the British Plastics Federation is the most powerful voice in the UK plastic industry with over 500 members across the plastics industry supply chain, including polymer producers and suppliers, additive manufacturers, recyclers, services providers, end users, plastics processors and machinery manufacturers, representing over 80% of the industry by turnover.

“The Bunting Global group of companies has a strong history of developing metal separation solutions for the plastics sector,” said Dave Hills.  “In the past 12 months, Bunting Europe has had stands at the international K2016 plastics show in Germany, Plast Eurasia in Turkey, ProPak in South Africa, and at Arabplast in Dubai.”bunting_at_k2016-2

“This year we are already booked a stand at Interplas (NEC, Birmingham, UK 26-28 September 2017) and will be supporting our local representatives at other regional plastics shows in France and the Netherlands.”

The BPF has strong overseas links and provide support to companies seeking to develop export business.

Bunting has reported on several Magnetic Separator and Metal Detector installations in the plastics industry including:

Perfect Plastics Plant

Bunting also produced a guide on the best locations for Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors in a Plastics Production Process.

“We are looking forward to being part of a fantastic organisation that can help us expand our business in the plastics sector,” said Dave Hills.

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used in the Plastics sector, please contact us on:

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

Overseas Exhibition Success at Arabplast for Bunting

Sales Made on the Stand at Dubai Plastics Show

When display equipment is bought and paid for at the exhibition, you know that it has been a good show.

This was the first time that Bunting Europe had attended any exhibition in the Middle East.  With a focus on plastics, Arabplast was the ideal show to promote our range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors.

With the UAE producing 25% of all plastics in the Gulf, staging the exhibition at the impressive World Trade Centre in Dubai was ideal.  There are over 600 plastics factories in the UAE with further expansion planned.

“Arabplast gave us a real opportunity to learn about the plastics sector in the Middle East,” said Dave Hills, our Head of Sales.  “There was a good footfall in the show with visitors from across the region.”bunting_europe_at_arabplast_2017-1321-2

Bunting was the only company exhibiting Magnetic Separation equipment at the show.  As a UK exporter, exhibiting at overseas shows is vitally important.

“Being at Arabplast enabled us to learn about the market.  We found that visitors were searching for quality products and industry knowledge.  There was a high level of interest in our Drawer Filter Magnets, especially when we demonstrated the strength of the Tube Magnets and how easy the system was to clean,” said Dave.

Display equipment was also purchased off the stand.

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Dave Hills conducting a Metal Separator test whilst being filmed by the client

“It is unusual to sell equipment at a show,” explained Dave, “but at Arabplast we sold two systems.  The client who purchased the Metal Separator [a combination of a FF Drawer Magnet mounted above a Quicktron Metal Detector] first visited us on Sunday.  He then returned on Monday, first just to discuss the system in greater detail and then to test a sample.  On Tuesday, we met the company’s Sales Manager, Purchasing Manager and CEO.  They ordered, paid and then collected the Metal Separator at the end of the show.”

Another customer also purchased one of the FF Drawer Grate Magnets.

“Next time we need to bring more stock,” said Dave.

Arabplast is held every two years and Bunting will be back in 2019.

“This is a developing market and we are really excited by the potential.  We intend to start appointing distributors across the region to provide local support.”

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used in the plastics industry , please contact our Technical Sales Team on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081

Email: sales@buntingeurope.com

Via the website

bunting_europe_at_arabplast_2017-1316