Joint Venture

Processing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) in HK.

The New Life Plastics JV will benefit from the strengths of Baguio’s domestic collection network in Hong Kong, ALBA’s recycling technology expertise and Swire Coca-Cola’s strength in the domestic beverages market.

The facility is expected to commence operations in the third quarter of 2020. The facility is planned to be able to process the entire domestic volume of post-consumer beverage packaging (PET) combined with used personal care bottles (HDPE), which is collectable in the foreseeable future.

The facility will consist of a common near infra-red sorting facility and two production lines, one for food grade PET flake, the other for HDPE pellets. The facility has been designed using the latest waste water management, solar water and photovoltaic power capture techniques. It will have a viewing gallery to enable tours to be undertaken and to explain how plastic waste which would normally go to landfill can be converted into valuable raw materials to be used in the manufacturing sector.

Swire Properties Limited has been appointed as the Project Manager for the design and construction of the facility.

  • learn more
  • learn more
  • learn more

Collection

Each Collection pillar requires its own specific Collection strategy.

Key for all Collection pillars is to get to the material as soon as possible post-consumption, to make sure it’s separated from other waste, as both these factors helps ensure quality of the collected materials.

The following infographic is an illustration of some of the Collection pillars.

Our Process

NLP has two processes which run in parallel – a PET processing line and an HDPE processeing line. Details for both are below:

PET Recycling Process

Pet-process-desktop
PET-PROCESS_tablet-trimmed

PET bottles, usually come in bales, will be de-baled first and then sent at an even speed into the processing line by an in-feed conveyor. A magnetic separator will take away those ferrous metal impurities.

A label scraper will remove labels and other external contaminations like dirt from the bottles by friction. A ballistic separator and star screen will sort out foils and labels. Fine particles will fall onto a collecting belt. These include labels, caps, sand, glass, stones and metal pieces.

The automatic sorting stage consists of a combination of optical systems for colour recognition and Near Infra-Red (NIR) detectors for plastics determination. The NIR detectors recognize the plastic types by reflecting light and the optical detectors catch the colours by transmitted light. A computer controls air blasts that send different materials into different chutes of the discharging box. The sorted bottles are then taken to the manual sorting stations by a conveyor.

The manual sorting stations are used to monitor the bottle quality outputted from the previous sorting stages. A metal detector will stop the conveyor belt when metal is detected so that the operators can remove the metal before the bottles are sent to the cutting mill.

The cutting mill is a wet-shredding and cutting mill which provides a combination of cutting and cleaning effects. During the shredding process, paper labels are removed and dissolved in the water. Dirt and remaining liquids in the bottles are washed away. After shredding and cutting, the plastic flakes are sent to a friction cleaner for water removal. A blower transports the flakes to the hot washing station.

The water temperature of the hot washer is controlled automatically. Inside the washer, the material is rotating over a stirrer so that the labels are removed from the flakes. Glue on the flake surface will be removed by the hot water (65-70 °C) with the help of suitable caustic soda solution and detergents. A friction cleaner separates the washing medium from the plastics flakes.

The plastic flakes are then sent into the stirring container through a cyclone. A stirrer mixes the plastics into water. PET flakes with a density of about 1.4 g/cm 3 will sink to the bottom and other lighter materials will move to the top. The separated materials are then blown to separate friction cleaners and dried. PET flakes will go to the post washer. The post washer removes the remaining caustic soda solution and detergent from the flakes by high turbulences produced by a stirrer. A downstream twin friction cleaner dries the flakes before entering the vertical air-stream separator.

In the vertical air-stream separator, heavy materials, PET flakes, are separated from lightweight materials contained in the material stream (e.g. fines like labels, paper, dust and other airborne particles).

The PET flakes then go into a vibration chute to remove oversize flakes. A magnetic drum removes even very small ferrous metals and a flake sorter removes wrong colours flakes, non-ferrous metals (e.g. aluminium and stainless steel) or other wrong plastics types. The final, high quality output, food grade ready PET flakes, is then sent to the filling station for big bag filling.

1. Dry

PET bottles, usually come in bales, will be de-baled first and then sent at an even speed into the processing line by an in-feed conveyor. A magnetic separator will take away those ferrous metal impurities.

A label scraper will remove labels and other external contaminations like dirt from the bottles by friction. A ballistic separator and star screen will sort out foils and labels. Fine particles will fall onto a collecting belt. These include labels, caps, sand, glass, stones and metal pieces.

The automatic sorting stage consists of a combination of optical systems for colour recognition and Near Infra-Red (NIR) detectors for plastics determination. The NIR detectors recognize the plastic types by reflecting light and the optical detectors catch the colours by transmitted light. A computer controls air blasts that send different materials into different chutes of the discharging box. The sorted bottles are then taken to the manual sorting stations by a conveyor.

The manual sorting stations are used to monitor the bottle quality outputted from the previous sorting stages. A metal detector will stop the conveyor belt when metal is detected so that the operators can remove the metal before the bottles are sent to the cutting mill.

2. Wet

The cutting mill is a wet-shredding and cutting mill which provides a combination of cutting and cleaning effects. During the shredding process, paper labels are removed and dissolved in the water. Dirt and remaining liquids in the bottles are washed away. After shredding and cutting, the plastic flakes are sent to a friction cleaner for water removal. A blower transports the flakes to the hot washing station.

The water temperature of the hot washer is controlled automatically. Inside the washer, the material is rotating over a stirrer so that the labels are removed from the flakes. Glue on the flake surface will be removed by the hot water (65-70 °C) with the help of suitable caustic soda solution and detergents. A friction cleaner separates the washing medium from the plastics flakes.

The plastic flakes are then sent into the stirring container through a cyclone. A stirrer mixes the plastics into water. PET flakes with a density of about 1.4 g/cm 3 will sink to the bottom and other lighter materials will move to the top. The separated materials are then blown to separate friction cleaners and dried. PET flakes will go to the post washer. The post washer removes the remaining caustic soda solution and detergent from the flakes by high turbulences produced by a stirrer. A downstream twin friction cleaner dries the flakes before entering the vertical air-stream separator.

3. Refinement

In the vertical air-stream separator, heavy materials, PET flakes, are separated from lightweight materials contained in the material stream (e.g. fines like labels, paper, dust and other airborne particles).

The PET flakes then go into a vibration chute to remove oversize flakes. A magnetic drum removes even very small ferrous metals and a flake sorter removes wrong colours flakes, non-ferrous metals (e.g. aluminium and stainless steel) or other wrong plastics types. The final, high quality output, food grade ready PET flakes, is then sent to the filling station for big bag filling.

HDPE Recycling Process

HDPE-Process-desktop-trimmed
HDPE-PROCESS-tablet-trimmed

HDPE bottles will go through a similar process except that washing is done at normal water temperature.

Plant

The PET food-grade ready plastic recycling plant in Hong Kong is being built in Lot T6 of the EcoPark at Tuen Mun District 38. The EcoPark, an industrial park for recycling businesses of Hong Kong, is operated by the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR.

The plant has been designed to process Hong Kong’s post-consumer PET and HDPE into raw materials which can be sold and used in the re-manufacturing of PET and HDPE products.

The plant has also been designed to incorporate a number of low impact initiatives – from photovoltaic panels for electricity generation through to heat capture and a closed water system.

End Products

Your PET and HDPE bottles will be processed and recycled locally and properly in EcoPark, Hong Kong. Certification that your PET and HDPE bottles have been recycled into flake and pellet and on-sold to manufacturers.

The recycling process will generate two end products: Food grade ready PET flake and rHDPE pellet.

Plastic1

Food-grade ready rPET flakes

Plastic1

High-grade rHDPE pellets

These will sold on the international markets by an affiliate of ALBA (100%) – RDB Plastics – the largest trader of PET in Western Europe.

RDB Plastics have an office in Hong Kong whom will manage the marketing and selling of the two end products of NLP.

Transparency & Validation

NLP believes strongly that a crucial part of the social contract which NLP has with Hong Kong is transparency on Collected, Recovered and Processed volumes of PET and HDPE, AND the yield to process these volumes to the outputs of rPET flake and rHDPE pellet.

Validation

NLP will produce Validation stating where the rPET flake and rHDPE pellet were sold – not the name of the customer, but as an example: to a resin produce of food grade PET; or to a manufacturer which is requiring rHDPE for consumer products.

We feel that it is essential to provide validation and certification on the Collected materials. This provides the transparency – and ensures our social contract with the Collection Pillars – and public at large.

Conclusion

This Transparency and Validation we hope will allow our customers, supporters and other stakeholders to see exactly where their post-consumer PET and HDPE ended up as well as seeing the yields attained in the Recycling process.

Partners

The following are all Partners of NLP whereby NLP collect their post-consumer PET and or HDPE, and process this with Validation and Certification.