Plastics from mixed waste assessed at plastic recycling plants
28 May 2014
In March 2014 representatives of Liepajas RAS Ltd. visited two
plastic recycling facilities in Latvia - Nordic Plast Ltd. and JSC
PET Baltija. Liepajas RAS has a signed agreement with these two
companies and regularly deals with possibilities of recycling the
Nordic Plast recycles LDPE film and HDPE and produces granules
of high quality.
PET Baltija recycles PET bottles producing PET flakes.
The purpose of the visits was to investigate the percentages and
types of waste plastics that are recyclable in the current waste
management system in Latvia.
For this purpose a bag of mixed plastic waste was delivered to
each of the recycling facilities for assessment. The analysis
performed by the companies showed that the current technological
setup at the two companies is capable of recycling approximately
60% of the plastic waste. The remaining 40% of the plastic waste
was not recyclable due to difficulties in e.g. sorting. One of the
highlighted challenges was the lack of material symbols printed in
the plastic packaging, which complicated the identification of the
individual plastic types. Due to this both plastic recyclers raised
the issue of a more stringent European level legislation on the
subject in order to be able to increase the recyclability
Another challenge in the Latvian plastic waste management is the
lack of legislation on Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). The cement
factory "CEMEX" in the Broceni municipality is a big purchaser of
RDF but is currently preferring RDF of foreign origin due to a
higher quality and purity in the fuel. The reason for the big
difference in quality is mainly due to the technological and
organisational differences in the waste sorting systems across
Europe. Western countries such as Germany has a big advantage on
the market, compared to Latvian suppliers of RDF.
A third and well known challenge which was highlighted was the
many multilayer composite plastic materials which are of a rather
low quality and are difficult to recyclable.