The world’s biggest plant for sorting plastic packaging was recently inaugurated, in Motala, Sweden. Site Zero doubles plastic recycling compared to the previous plant, which was already one of the most efficient in Europe. Up to 95 per cent of all packaging received will be able to be sent for recycling in the near future. “The conditions now exist to actually make plastics part of the circular economy,” says Mattias Philipsson, CEO of Svensk Plaståtervinning. Minister for Climate and Environment Romina Pourmokhtari, and more than 350 guests from Sweden and Europe attended the opening ceremony.

The key to successful plastic recycling is retaining the value of the material, which requires efficient sorting and recycling of each individual plastic type. This is where Site Zero is pioneering: the plant can sort out as many as twelve types of plastic, which corresponds to almost all types of plastic on the Swedish packaging market, compared to three or four at comparable plants in Europe.

Site Zero has now been tested for a period prior to opening, and the results show record figures for sorting efficiency. As much as 95 per cent of the packaging arriving at the plant can be sorted out for recycling in the next step.

“This means a doubling of plastic recycling compared to our previous plant, which was already one of the most efficient in Europe. The results from the test period show that plastic can now become part of the circular economy,” states Mattias Philipsson, CEO of Svensk Plaståtervinning.

Philipsson continues:
“With Site Zero, we have set a new path for plastic recycling and the rest of Europe. The world needs to follow, to reduce emissions from incineration and the need for primary raw material. It is no longer justifiable to incinerate as much plastic as we do or melt it down into low-quality products that cannot be recycled again,” says Mattias Philipsson.

Site Zero will be the world’s biggest sorting plant and can process 200,000 tons of plastic packaging. This is approximately equivalent to the total volume placed on the Swedish market. About half of this plastic packaging is collected by the Swedes, and until more plastic reaches the recycling system, Svensk Plaståtervinning has offered capacity to other countries. From 2024, Site Zero will receive most of Finland’s household plastics.

This makes Site Zero unique in the world:
Size: 60,000m2 (previous plant 15,000 sqm)

Sorting capacity: 12 types of plastic (comparable plants 3-4 types): rigid PP, rigid HDPE, flexible LDPE, flexible PP, transparent PET trays, transparent
PET bottles, coloured PET bottles, EPS, PS, PVC, two grades of mixed polyolefin laminates, and metal and non-plastic rejects

Sorting efficiency: Up to 95 per cent of the received plastics can be sorted out and recycled in the next step

Sorting sensors: 60 NIR sensors (comparable plants have an average of 5 NIR sensors, previous plant 19 sensors)

Advanced control system: fully automated process, real-time optimization, artificial intelligence. The different parts of the plant influence and talk to each other, optimizing the sorting process

Reception capacity: 200,000 tons per year of mixed plastic packaging from households (previous plant 100,000 tons per year)
Sorting speed: 1000 packages per second, 42 tons per hour

For more information about Svensk Plaståtervinning please visit: www.svenskplastatervinning.se

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