In what can liquid beer be recycled

Beverage packaging and its recycling process

When they arrive at the sorting systems, smaller and larger packagings are separated using sieve drums: Substances such as foils are extracted while an overband magnet pulls out tinplate cans. Then it goes to an eddy current separator, an apparatus that identifies and sorts aluminum cans and tubes. Another magnetic field repels the metal-containing packaging via a partition and collects it in a concentrated manner. Near-infrared separators take over the identification and sorting of the various packaging materials such as empty beverage packaging and plastics using the differently reflected light spectra. Controlled by a computer, they are recorded and thrown in different directions. The result: The different types of plastic such as PET, polyethylene and others are sorted according to type for recycling and pressed into bales. The company recycles 600,000 tons of plastic waste every year. This saves more than 1.26 tons of CO per ton compared to incineration in the waste disposal facility2 . Secondary raw materials are made from almost single-origin polypropylene.

The path of the bales from the PPT leads to shredding in a further plant. Here, too, an overband magnet pulls out any remaining metallic parts. Then it is separated into a bathroom, the heavy cargo trap: while light plastic waste such as polypropylene floats on the surface, heavier plastics and metals sink. Another washing process is due to detach and remove the paper fibers from the labels. After another bath in the heavy goods trap, the PPT parts are put into a drying fan. Filled as regrind, the small PPT snippets are ready for use in the plastics industry. The Green Dot also processes the previously sorted and cleaned small PPT parts. In an extruder, a device that is mostly used in the plastics industry, the regrind is turned into the high-quality intermediate product polypropylene regranulate. The plastics industry uses this to manufacture a wide variety of items such as flower pots, paint buckets, baskets or transport boxes. If a manufacturer in the plastics industry wants a product with certain properties, the recycling company adds the necessary substances in the extruder. In contrast to the production of new plastics, the recycling process does not require any valuable crude oil. The energy consumption is also much lower.