Eco Polymers ups PP recycling rate

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PHOTO: Victor Nash monitoring production of PP pellets from recycled material at the Eco Polymers plant in Alrode, Johannesburg

ECO POLYMERS, the polypropylene recycling operation in Alrode, Johannesburg, has succeeded in lifting tonnage turnover nicely since the business was established 18 months ago.

The company was set up by Victor Nash, Asheen Singh and one sleeping partner. The line, built around a 130mm extruder and wash plant, started as a turnkey operation in mid-2012.

PP has up till recently not been widely recycled, but that’s not because it isn’t popular: rPP is used in furniture, crates, household goods and a wide range of other applications. Use of a percentage of recycled material in the cores of mouldings or multi-layer structures offers a price advantage for PP converters.

The factor that has prevented rPP’s more widespread reprocessing is the challenge of sourcing material from the post-consumer stream. Eco Polymers as a result started off right by having an expert within operational experience in this area, Victor Nash, together with a well-known material expert, Asheen Singh, to establish its collection system.

Much of the material is collected from landfill sites, which requires coordination with both dedicated and informal collectors. Polypropylene mouldings can be hard to identify in the waste stream, since a wide variety of components are produced in PP and, unless prior sorting is conducted, these items can be difficult to separate.

But it appears that recyclers are moving towards a solution: PP recycling rates have increased from an estimated 26 500 tons in 2005 to 47 000 tons in 2012, which is a major rise.

Nash, who was previously involved in PP yarn extrusion as well as bulk PP recycling, has carried those skills over at the Eco plant since relocating to Gauteng. He has succeeded in setting up a functioning system which has seen tonnages move up to the 140 tons a month range. Training of production and collection staff, as well as the incentivising of particularly the latter, has been an important part of the process. Production scrap from PP virgin convertors forms a portion of the in-flow material.

The demand for Eco Polymers material outstrips supply pushing this newly founded company into the next stage of its plan, to further increase processed volumes to 180 tons and to develop new markets for the range of rPP polymers it’s supplying.

  • Eco Polymers, phone /