Plastics from mixed waste assessed at plastic recycling plants

In March 2014 the representatives of Liepajas RAS Ltd. in the frame of LIFE+ project PLASTIC ZERO visited two plastic recycling plants – Nordic Plast Ltd. and JSC PET Baltija.

Liepajas RAS has signed agreement with these two companies and regularly deal with possibilities of recycling the plastic waste.

Nordic Plast recycles LDPE film and HDPE or rigid plastics and produces granules of high quality.

PET Baltija recycles PET bottles producing PET flakes of quality.

The visits to these recycling plants were done in the frame of the tests which aim to evaluate amount of disposed plastic waste at the landfill site and to figure out how much and which types of disposed plastics can be recycled and which can not.

A bag of plastic waste separated from mixed waste was delivered to the recycling companies for assessment which showed that the technologies of these two companies (as well as the information about the technologies and acceptable types of plastics at  other recycling plants in Latvia, like RecoLat Ltd. and Green World Ltd. which Liepajas RAS have visited previously in the frame of Plastic Zero project), can recycle ca. 60% of this plastics. Other 40% of the plastics is not recyclable or it would be recyclable if there would be relevant technologies for certain types of plastic waste.

One of the problems or keystones which was noticed were the printed symbols of plastic resin types which are not always printed on the plastic packaging thus complicating identification of a plastic type. The plastics recycling companies asked to raise this problem and to bring to European institution’s notice which could adopt resolutions that companies within Europen Union can deliver goods with packaging which contain printed symbols of plastic types.

Another problem, which exists in Latvia, is there is no legislation made for Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) deliverable for cement factory „CEMEX” in Broceni municipality. Preference is given to RDF of foreign origin, especially Western European countries like Germany, as waste sorting in these countries are more developed and thus the sorted waste more pure and qualitative.

The third problem is the multilayer composite plastic materials which are rather of low quality and are not recyclable. Each type of plastics has its own temperature of combution and melting, but in recycling process a material must be monolith.