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Krones supplied the entire recycling plant, from the sorting plant and granulators to the washing line and flake sorting, right through to the utilities.(Photo credit: Republic Services)

PET plant

Krones: Successful acceptance at Republic Services in Las Vegas

Krones AG Neutraubling, Germany

  • The Republic Services Polymer Center is the first plant of its kind in North America.
  • Following its successful commissioning at the end of 2023, the final acceptance of Krones Recycling’s plant for PET and polyolefins has now taken place.
  • From the front end and washing line to utilities and water treatment: with Krones as general contractor, Republic Services received the entire plant from a single source.

The market for recycled plastics is booming. The Republic Services Polymer Center in Las Vegas is to contribute to meeting this demand with an expected annual output of more than 50,000 tons of recycled plastics. To achieve these ambitious goals, Republic Services is relying on the technology and expertise of Krones. A linked system with two different input streams now produces high-quality washed PET recyclate and a color sorted PE/PP fraction.

About half of the throughput volume is a PE/PP fraction, which will be sold to Blue Polymers, a joint venture that Republic Services established in 2023, in the form of bales that are pure in terms of color and type.

“We chose Krones because we think we’re going to produce the cleanest and highest-value product in the marketplace,” said Pete Keller, Republic Services Vice President, Recycling & Sustainability. “We consistently heard that the Krones wash line produced the highest-quality rPET flake. These systems give us the ability to produce both food-grade and color-sorted materials in a way that hasn’t been available to the market in the past, enabling greater material circularity.”

As a turnkey specialist, Krones supplied the entire line, from the sorting system and the granulators to the washing line and flake sorting, all the way through to utilities such as compressed air generation, water treatment and wastewater treatment. Following the successful commissioning in December 2023, the plant has now also passed the final acceptance test with flying colors.  “Krones is very fortunate to be working with a customer like Republic who is a leader in their perspective industry. Years of experience managing and operating plants in the recycling industry has made the transition to processing post-consumer plastics as smooth a process as you could ask for.” says Jon Larson, Head of Product Sales at Krones Inc.

Tomra May 2024

Just a first step

Republic Services is planning plants at three more locations in the USA by 2026. Dr. Michael Gotsche, Head of Krones Recycling, says: “The collaboration is of high strategic relevance for Krones. We want to support Republic Services in expanding their footprint with Polymer Centers across the USA.” Blue Polymers is also part of these growth plans, because: A Blue Polymers facility is also to be built in the immediate vicinity of each of Republic Services' Polymer Centers, which will further process polyolefins through purifying, blending and pelletizing.

The Republic Polymer Center and Blue Polymers complex in Indianapolis will go into operation towards the end of the year. Here, too, the company is relying on technology from Krones - above all the tried-and-tested MetaPure washing modules, which are used for both PET recycling and polyolefins.

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