No technical barrier for recycling plant-based plastic bottles: NatureWorks

NatureWorks, US-based producer of bio-based plastics, has recently come to a conclusion that the current automated plastics sorting systems are capable of sorting bio-based plastic bottles from the petroleum-based plastic bottles with a near 100% accuracy. The conclusion comes following company's detailed 2-year assessment of several plastics sorting equipment manufacturers which have automated systems to segregate bio-based plastics from petro-plastics including PET, HDPE, PVC, and PS. These sorting systems are usually based on infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, color identification, and laser technologies. The conclusion is of great importance as it spells that there is no technological barrier to recycling bottles made from plants instead of oil. Titech, one of the manufacturer of sorting equipment, scored a 97.5% accuracy in a single pass for its near-infrared sorting systems to eject concentrated amounts of Ingeo™ (PolyLactic Acid plastic from NatureWorks) in a PET sorting operation. Unisensor, showed its laser technology was fully capable of sorting Ingeo™ flakes from desired PET flakes at efficiencies of 96 to 99%. UK-based WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), the internationally recognized not-for-profit company which encourages waste reduction also supports claims made by NatureWorks in one of its published work, 'Domestic Mixed Plastics Packaging Waste Options' (June 2008).
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