SUEZ and ELM Recycling found joint venture "Xplastics"

| Business function | SUEZ Recycling | Wesseling | Germany

Xplastics is the name of the new plastics recycling plant, which will go into operation in March 2020 and process almost 70,000 tonnes of packaging and commercial waste material into PO, LDPE and substitute fuels (EBS for short). With their 50/50 joint venture, the two companies SUEZ Recycling Süd GmbH and ELM Recycling GmbH & Co. KG make a valuable contribution to the closure of the plastic recycling cycle.

Green light for a green solution: After SUEZ Recycling Süd GmbH commissioned Europe's most modern sorting plant for lightweight packaging in the Baden-Württemberg city of Ölbronn in March this year, the company is continuing to invest in the south of the city together with ELM Recycling GmbH & Co. KG country. In the spring of 2020, a new plastic recycling plant will be commissioned in Bruchsal, which is just 30 kilometers away. The goal: to sort and recycle mixed plastics from various input streams, for example from the Ölbronn LVP sorting or from the commercial and industrial collection.

Certification as a last receiver system for dual systems

"With ELM Recycling GmbH & Co. KG we have found a competent partner with a lot of experience in the fields of plastic recycling and alternative fuels," explains Jochen Zickwolf, one of the two managing directors of the plant, the choice of a joint venture partner. ELM is also convinced that "through this cooperation, we can leverage valuable synergies for the circular economy," adds Managing Director Eberhard Lebküchner. The two companies are investing almost eight million euros in the project. Xplastics is also to be certified as the ultimate recipient plant for the recycling of packaging waste from the Dual Systems in order to meet the new ambitious recycling quotas of the Packaging Act in force since the beginning of the year.

Two-stage process for plastics processing: Efficient sorting technology supplemented by wet processing

In a two-stage process, the new plant will process nearly 70,000 tonnes of mixed plastics and commercial waste per year into PO, LDPE and high-calorie EBS. In addition, other recycling raw materials such as iron and aluminum are recovered.

The plastic processing takes place in two steps. In the first process step, the input material from various sources is first sorted by means of screening drums and near-infrared technology and then shredded to a uniform grain size. After the separation of unwanted contaminants, the next step is a wet treatment by means of a levitation-sink process for a further cleaning of the plastic flakes of heavy contaminants such as small glass or mineral particles. Thus, the process produces a high-purity and washed PE-PP mixed fraction (PO), high and medium calorific EBS for use, for example in the cement industry, pure LDPE films and other recycling raw materials.

"The recycling market is growing strongly. Also for environmental and resource protection reasons, we welcome the development that high-quality plastics recycling is becoming increasingly important, "explains Jochen Zickwolf, explaining the background to the investment in higher-quality recycling under the current legal framework.