U.S., Swiss companies join forces on plastics recycling
- National Recovery Technologies (NRT) of Nashville, TN is entering an agreement with Buhler Sortex, London, to offer better solutions for plastic bottle and flake sorting at MRFs. Buhler Sortex is part of the Buhler Group, based in Uzwil, Switzerland.
- The partners are increasing efforts in the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyehtylene (HDPE) sorting operations in Europe and North America, and strengthening their position as leading joint suppliers of sorting solutions to the recycling industry. Their technologies include In-Flight Sorting, PET Boost, Label Reduction Kit and Smart-Eject.
- The partnership allows access to both companies' system design, on-site management, installation, product training and "collaboration with key members of the technology value chain," according to a press release. “We’re excited to bring the industry’s first complete offering to market that doesn’t require a plastics recycler to compromise on bottle or flake sorting performance and provides high-quality, local support," said NRT President Matthias Erdmannsdoerfer. "We look forward to building a strong partnership with Buhler Sortex and our customers across Europe and North America."
It's been a busy time for developments in the plastic recycling market. This week, Hartsville, SC-based Novolex announced its acquisition of Wisconsin Film & Bag of Shawano, WI, a plastic bag and film manufacturer and recycler, for an undisclosed amount. Additionally, new research found a method to improve sorting of food-contact PET, and student engineers found a way to turn plastic into 3-D printer filament.
At Buhler Sortex, Charith Gunawardena, head of optical sorting, said in a press release: "This landmark agreement signifies our confidence in the future growth of recycling. It also strengthens our industry references and reinforces our leading role in optical sorting."
As always, there's room for growth in the industry. A recent market study predicts up to 300 new plastics recycling plants in Europe by 2025.
Waste 360 reports that global plastics production has increased by 10 million metric tons to about 280 million metric tons in 2011. Europe and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region comprise 41% of the world’s total plastic materials production. Government recycling targets and corporate social responsibility pledges are driving demand for integrated bottle and flake sorting solutions.
Yet there is still a global commodity glut because of depressed prices, lower demand from China and lower oil prices, according to Waste 360's Business Insights.