How EcoStar Recycles PET Into Food Grade Packaging

1
Bale Breaking

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Welcome to EcoStar. This report provides an overview of how post-consumer PET bottles can be recycled into food grade resin.

The process starts with the arrival of incoming bales of PET bottles. The bales of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) are clamped by a forklift operator onto an incline conveyor to singulate the bottles. The conveyor can hold up to ten bales at a time.

2
Green Bottles Are Detected and Removed

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Early in the process, green bottles are detected and kicked out. They are accumulated for sale.

3
Pre-Wash Process Prepares Bottles for Scanners

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During prewash, the outsides of bottles are cleaned of dirt so that the near infrared (NIR) scanners can accurately detect the type of plastic.

4
Label Separation

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The material is then run through a label separator. Steam and chemicals aid in the removal of labels and loose caps, which are then separated.

5
Near Infrared Sorting

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Empty bottles then go through two infrad sorting processes. The first removes ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as any residual green bottles that might still be in the material. A second step scans for mixed plastics, which are also ejected.

6
Manual Sorting

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The following step is the manual sortation of any greens, labels, or contaminants that have made it through to this stage of the recycling process.

7
Metal Detector Pass

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After manual sorting and before going into the grinder, material must again go through metal detection. If any metal is identified, it is sent down the shoot to be sure it is removed.

8
Grinding

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Remaining bottles then proceed through a wet grinder where they are reduced to the desired PET flake size.

9
Washing

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After grinding, the flakes are then washed with hot water and chemicals to remove dirt and glue.

10
Sink/Float Separation

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After washing, the flakes then travel to a float/sink tank where caps and rings are separated from PET flakes. PET sinks while polypropylene (PP) floats to the surface where it is skimmed off for separate resale.

11
Final Rinse and Metal Detection

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After the final rinse, the PET and water are separated. The product is spun dry and put on a conveyor to go through yet another metal detector.

12
Blending/Mixing Silo

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PET is then directed into a blending/mixing silo where any residual PVC is detected. PET is fed out the bottom. An elutriator removes the tiny particles.

13
Storage Silo

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The storage silo can hold up to 12 hours production of utility grade PET material until it sent to be "super cleaned" in the LNO converter for use in food packaging.

14
Finished Product Ready for Shipping

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Super sacks are then filled with finished material, ready for shipping.