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Plastics from mixed waste assessed at plastic recycling plants

Updated last: 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 plastic waste.

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 level.

Pet Baltija Liepajas Sorting Test At 2 Plants _picture 1 Liepajas Sorting Test At 2 Plants _picture 2 Liepajas Sorting Test At 2 Plants _picture 3

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.

Synergi Webbureau Reklamebureau