Hailed as a ‘game changer’, the site is large enough to receive all the plastic packaging waste generated by Swedish households.
A new Swedish factory can recycle more plastic packaging than any other site in the world, according to the nonprofit behind it.
The ‘Site Zero’ plant in Motala town is believed to be the largest of its kind, capable of sorting 20,000 tonnes of plastic packaging a year.
It is not just the size but the cutting-edge technology that makes this feat possible. Infrared red cameras are used to separate the tide of waste arriving at factory gates into 12 different types plastic,
According to Sweden Plastics Recycling, co-owned by Swedish plastic, food and trade industry groups, this should double the amount of plastic packaging recycled in the country.
“This is a game changer,” said Osa Stenmark of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. “Not just sorting, but they really believe there is ultimately a market” for all 12 types of plastics sorted by the plant.
Robert Blasiak, a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Center, said sweden It is “ahead of the curve” when it comes to plastic recycling, and waste management in many other parts of the world still has a long way to go.
Global plastic waste will triple by 2060
Site Zero’s launch on Wednesday (November 15) comes amid talks to develop a global treaty plastic pollution, This week, nations, petrochemical companies and environmentalists are gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, for a third round of UN-backed talks to secure this historic, legally binding instrument.
This can’t come soon enough, as plastic waste produced globally will triple by 2060, with almost half ending up in landfills and less than one-fifth recycled.
The world currently produces more than 430 million tons of plastic annually, two-thirds of which are short-lived products that soon become waste and fill the oceans. And, as a recent United Nations Environment Program report found, often takes its toll on human food chain,
“A closed loop for plastics should really be the ultimate goal, not just for corporations and governments, but for united nations plastics treaty “This is still under discussion,” says Blasik.
“And that means that at every stage of the plastic lifecycle, the emissions basically going through these life stages need to be reduced to zero.”
Swedish plant to send almost all plastic packaging for recycling
At Site Zero, the roar of the machines is deafening as conveyor belts carry 40 tons of mixed plastic waste per hour from the factory’s interiors.
Slowly, like a chocolate wrapper, plastic bagsAs yogurt containers or white polystyrene move into the 60,000 square meter facility, they are broken down, separated according to size and sorted in a fully automated process relying on infrared cameras.
Mattias Philipson, CEO of Sweden Plastics Recycling, said an older plant at the same location could only sort five types of plastic, which meant only 47 percent of the material was sent for recycling and the rest was incinerated.
The new plant will be able to send up to 95 percent of packaging for recycling, reducing its volume. incinerated, Burning plastic affects the climate by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
What happens to recycled plastic?
Once sorted, plastics can be recycled in a traditional, mechanical manner or through a chemical recycling method, which typically involves the use of heat or chemicals to break down the plastic into liquid and gas to form an oil-like mixture or basic chemicals. Uses solvents.
Industry leaders say the mixture can be reformulated plastic pellets To create new products. But environmental groups say chemical, or advanced, recycling distracts from real solutions like producing and using less plastic.
Philipson said that even though more efficient sorting facilities would help increase the amount of plastic recycled in Sweden, it would also depend on households properly separating their waste.
“Most plastics are still burnt because they have not been sorted by households,” he said.