Republic Services, a leader in the U.S. environmental services industry, has opened North America’s first vertically integrated plastics recycling facility, producing recycled resins for use in sustainable packaging. Krones, acting as general contractor in the project for the new Polymer Center in Las Vegas, worked hand in hand with STADLER, which was responsible for mechanical sorting on the PET and PO lines. The new plant will produce more than 100 million pounds per year of recovered resin products that are returned to the circular economy.
The new Polymer Center processes presorted plastics collected by Republic Services across the Western United States to recover PET, which is converted into recycled PET (rPET) flakes ready to be turned into new bottles, and Polyolefins (PO) ready for use in the production of new bottles, jugs and containers.
“The Polymer Center is the first facility of its kind in North America,” says Pete Keller, Vice President, Recycling and Sustainability at Republic Services. “It’s the first time a single U.S. company has managed the entire plastics recycling stream, from curbside collection to production of high-quality recycled resins ready for use in sustainable packaging.”
This was an important project for Republic Services that required careful planning and research to select the best partners: “We started to think about the Polymer Center business model in 2019,” explains Pete Keller. “We chose STADLER and Krones because we think we’re going to produce the highest-quality and highest-value product in the marketplace. We had familiarity with STADLER’s equipment and people, and we knew we were going to get a solid design. We consistently heard that the Krones wash line produced the highest-quality rPET flake in the marketplace. 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.”
Dual Line plant closes the loop with high-quality, food-grade recycled plastic
The Polymer Center in Las Vegas sorts and processes the materials, which are delivered in bales, on two lines: one for PET and one for mixed plastics, each with a capacity of 5t/h. “This is the largest Dual Line plastics recycling plant in the USA,” comments Mat Everhart CEO, Stadler America LLC (a subsidiary of STADLER Anlagenbau GmbH). It is expected to put 100 million pounds of plastics a year back into the circular economy by producing high-quality, food-grade recycled material ready for use in packaging.