Located in Austria's east, the recycling company PET to PET has processed about one billion PET bottles or 25,400 tons in 2018 - a plus of 9 % compared to the previous year. The five largest domestic beverage producers operate the site with the aim of recovering recycled material from local sources for reuse in PET bottles. For Austrian brand owners, "circular economy" is more than just a buzzword: On average, domestic PET bottles already include 30-50 % of recycled material. Vöslauer even lists a content of roughly 60 % per bottle of mineral water and a planned increase to 100 % within the next years.
Since 2010, PET to PET operates a Starlinger recycling line of the type recoSTAR PET 125 HC iV+. With this line, the pre-cut, washed and sorted flakes are processed into high-quality regranulate. "With Starlinger's technology, we have chosen one of the safest methods that guarantees thorough decontamination of the material according to the FIFO principle," says Christian Strasser, Managing Director of PET to PET. "In this regard, the strict requirements of our owners, especially Coca-Cola, greatly influenced our decision when purchasing the line." Geographical proximity - Starlinger and PET to PET are only about 30 miles apart - also played a role, as it allows short-term spare parts deliveries and swift technical assistance.
The recycling of plastics is booming, not least because of the EU's ambitious recycling targets - the circular economy package stipulates a recycling rate of 50 % until the year 2025. Last year, the growing demand for recycled material prompted PET to PET to approach Starlinger recycling technology with the request for an increase in capacity of the recycling line. The customer was convinced that in cooperation with Starlinger's specialists, an even higher throughput could be achieved. Through a detailed analysis, they jointly identified areas that showed potential for an increase in performance. Based on this analysis, Starlinger recycling technology compiled a package that was integrated into the line in several stages. The upgrade involved numerous process steps such as drying, extrusion, filtration, and energy recovery.
"After completion of the revamp, the line runs at 20 % more output with consistent quality and constant IV," states Christian Lovranich, Head of Process Engineering of Starlinger recycling technology. "By doubling the capacity for energy recovery, we have not only made the line more productive, but also much more energy-efficient. The successful upgrade at PET to PET shows that even after many years of reliable operation, recycling lines can still achieve an increase in performance."