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Source One Plastics: Filter system for capturing microplastic

In a new recycling unit built by Source One Plastics in Eicklingen (Lower Saxony), a special high-performance filtration system has been installed that aims to prevent fine dust or microplastic particles getting into the environment. The facility began regular operation at the end of February 2024.


Source One Plastics - a joint venture of the chemical group LyondellBasell and the investment firm 23 Oaks - has opted for a dry mechanical process for processing used plastic packs. The dry processing of the post-consumer waste is, according to the company, not only more energy-efficient than processes in which the plastic waste first has to be washed. With the technology from Source One Plastics, the emission of microplastic into the environment is also prevented because the plastics do not have any contact with water, with the result that no microparticles can be rinsed out, it says. "We have reorganised the entire process of waste processing," explains Kay Hoyer, Managing Director of Source One Plastics GmbH. "With the help of a differentiated classification and an upstream near-infrared sorting procedure, we are able to clean the plastic mechanically. This is done by rubbing off the surface contamination and the organics from the starting material under high pressure." The microparticles created during the dry cleaning of the plastic are, he says, sucked directly into the air filter plant with the aid of a consistent light vacuum in the recycling hall, and subsequently incinerated under controlled conditions for heat generation, continued Hoyer. This prevents fine dust or microplastic particles getting into the environment. "In this way, we also create optimum working conditions for our employees," continued Hoyer. "Our high-performance dust filters clean the air down to a residual dust content of less than three milligrams per cubic metre. This means we are more than two thirds below the limit laid down in the safety-at-work regulations of ten milligrams per cubic metre," says Hoyer. The installed jet bag filter from the company Schulz und Berger, including the exhaust chimney 24 metres high, weighs 25 tonnes and, with the help of a filter area of 534 square metres, exchanges around 85,000 cubic metres of air per hour. The filtration unit has been designed in such a way that it captures the dust formed in the unit directly at its point of emission.
Through the dry-mechanical processing of the waste, Source One Plastics says that the energy consumption compared with other processes is reduced by up to 30 %. The facility is operated with locally generated renewable energy from wind and biomass. The plant is said to reprocess every year up to 70,000 tonnes of difficultly recyclable plastic waste such as mixed plastic packaging and flexible polyolefins that stem from the sorting of lightweight packs from Germany and the Netherlands, and otherwise mostly end up in incineration. The plastic waste processed in Eicklingen is to provide a major part of the starting material for the first industrial-scale chemical recycling plant being built by LyondellBasell at its Wesseling site in Germany.

  • Euwid Recycling und Entsorgung 1/2024 (9.1.2024)
  • K-zeitung (26.2.2024)
  • Photo: © Source One Plastics, O. Kürth

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