Svensk Plaståtervinning, or Swedish Plastic Recycling, declared it is investing 1 billion Swedish krona (more than US $116.5 million) to develop an advanced plastics recycling facility. The new operation will be able to recycle all plastic packaging from Swedish homes, without any CO2 emissions, at its existing facility in Motala, Sweden. Named Site Zero, the new 60,000 m2 facility is expected to be ready in 2023.
“We are doubling our capacity and will be able to handle 200,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per year. This creates the conditions needed for receiving and eventually [recycling] all plastic packaging from Swedish households,” said Mattias Philipsson, CEO of Swedish Plastic Recycling, in a prepared statement.
At present, Swedish Plastic Recycling operates a nationwide system for collecting and recycling plastic packaging in Sweden, with extended producer responsibility legislation affecting over 10,000 companies.
The Motala facility currently processes only four types of plastic. When Site Zero is functioning, it will be able to sort and recycle 12 types of waste, which include polypropylene (PP) rigid packaging, PP film, high-density and low-density polyethylene (HDPE and LDPE). It will also be able to recycle PET trays and bottles, both colored and transparent; polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, PVC, metal, non-plastic waste, and two grades of polyolefin mix.
After sorting, any remaining small pieces of plastic will be separated and sent to chemical recycling or become new composite products. Swedish Plastic Recycling will use carbon capture storage (CCS) for the small amount of waste that cannot be recycled. No packaging will be incinerated.
Using 60 near infra-red (NIR) sensors for sorting along an approximately 5km long conveyor belt, Site Zero will be fully automated.The new facility will also be climate neutral, with zero emissions, and powered by renewable energy. Swedish Plastic Recycling plans to cover the roof with solar panels in order to produce renewable energy for the site.
“We are also preparing for washing and granulation of the plastic in phase two, which is planned for 2025. Then our entire plastic flow in Sweden can become circular,” Philipsson said. By 2023, Site Zero will employ 150 to 200 workers, up from about 80 currently.