Technological watch

FIMIC develops filtration technology for PET recycling

FIMIC has installed two units (RAS-type filters) on PET recycling lines to work with more contaminated PET waste streams, i.e., not coming from hot-washed bottle flakes only, such as for example PET lumps from petrochemical waste or from strapping production, waste fibers as well as PET straps. In these cases, the contamination of the input material was higher than the typical “ppm” contaminations used for food grade applications, reaching levels as high as 5%. The benefits and the advantages of a continuous scraping filtration are ‘significant’, according to FIMIC. × Untitled design - 1 Dedicated to different end applications, these filter units are working with performance and great quality results in both cases: as a pre-filter in the first project (applied filtration is 150 or 120 micron on laser screen) and as the only filtration step in the second one (applied filtration is 80 micron on laser screen). The respective output performances are 2.000 kg/h and 700 kg/h, at very different and sometimes inconsistent iV levels.

At the same time, FIMIC says it has increased the amount of units installed for the recycling of soft PVC Most recently, FIMIC has been testing an alternative solution to be applied to hard PVC.

According to the company, PolyEthyleneTerephthalate (PET) is one of the most recyclable plastics, widely used world-wide in many different applications. Light, strong, durable and safe, PET offers a number of advantages being almost uniquely among plastics. Because of PET’s incredible performance and recyclability it is one of the most sustainable packaging materials. It is in fact approved as safe for use in direct food contact all over EU, as well as many other Countries, both in virgin or recycled form. Its uses vary from food, beverage, pharmaceutical and medical sectors, clothing, automotives, outperforming other plastic packaging. 70% of carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices, dilutable drinks and bottled water are made of PET. 

FIMIC says that PET is near-infinitely recyclable and because it can be made into new products, lowers the need for virgin PET, reducing CO2 emissions and helping to achieve a fully circular economy. Recycled PET products show a drop of up to 90% in CO2 emissions compared to virgin PET.

Most major brands using plastics in their supply chains have started to evaluate their carbon footprint and take mitigating actions like packaging redesign and light-weighting, reducing the use for virgin plastics, increasing reusability, and setting targets for minimum recycled plastic content. As brands strive to meet their targets, they are collectively expanding demand and increasingly competing for available rPET. Another factor driving the demand for and supply of rPET are the new regulations and taxes on packaging made from virgin plastics / single-use plastics packaging.

Rising rPET demand and prices are incentivizing investments in new recycling capacity – Europe has seen a 21% increase in the installed capacity for PET recycling - according to a report by Plastics Recyclers Europe, PETCORE Europe, Natural Mineral Water Europe (NMWE), and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe - at the same time global rPET capacity is forecast to boom over the next five years.

According to FIMIC This “run” towards ever increasingly demand for rPET, has led producers of PET packaging products (both food grade and non-food grade applications) to look for more contaminated sources of PET waste. 

FIMIC says itsmelt filters are recognized as one of the best filtration technologies dedicated to contaminated post-consumer plastics; to reach high quality recycled plastics from more contaminated waste streams, automatic technologies are needed to filter out impurities and contaminations from the melt flow. FIMIC claims it has been working and tweaking its filtration technologies in order to meet and satisfy the needs (ever increasing quality needs, different materials characteristics) of recyclers, and expanding its technology to applications that previously did not require the use of continuous scraping melt filters such as, precisely, PET.

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Publication date: 14/03/2023

European Plastic Product Manufacturer

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31