Polychem, located in Mentor, Ohio, is one of the world’s largest makers of industrial plastic strapping for bundling products for shipping.
rPET Plastic Strapping and Plastic Strapping Machine - Images Courtesy Polychem
In 1998 Polychem launched Evergreen Plastics to create a source of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) for their PET strapping products.
Evergreen is now using post-consumer plastic bottles as a source of PET raw material and producing rPET (recycled PET), which it passes along to Polychem as high-quality material to produce rPET strapping.
In this circular economy solution, Evergreen is taking in bales of curbside-collected PET, mostly in the form of soda and water bottles and is turning this material into rPET flakes and pellets that Polychem uses in their plastic strapping extrusion machines, creating 100% rPET strapping.
Starting with mixed bales of PET recycled waste...
Evergreen makes high quality rPET flakes and pellets which is provided to Polychem as well as to other customers to create rPET products, including food-grade packaging products.
Images - Courtesy Evergreen Plastics
According to Greg Johnson, Vice President of Operations at Evergreen Plastics...
“We buy post-consumer baled bottles. We sort, grind and wash them, and then we use the material—the ground flake—to produce the strapping,”
With the success of this rPET initiative, Evergreen has expanded its facility from 75,000 to 240,000 square feet. An advantage in using rPET for strapping is that Evergreen is able to use primarily blue and green PET bottles and turn them into a usable product.
“For many recyclers, that’s not a primary stream of material. For us, that’s very much our primary stream.” says Johnson.
In addition to recycling blue and green PET bottles, Evergreen also processes clear PET bottles. While producing rPET strapping, Evergreen is also able to produce food-grade rPET pellets and flakes. The company is using equipment that has a non-objection letter from the US FDA, allowing them to sell rPET for food-grade applications.
To deliver the rPET flakes and pellets, Evergreen is using two EREMA systems. The first system installed is a VACUREMA® advanced extrusion system. Another system, the VACUREMA PRIME extrusion system was installed in 2011.
The services that Evergreen provides to produce high-quality rPET include toll PET washing, toll ground rPET flake processing, toll rPET pelletizing, rPET blending, rPET compounding, toll PET grinding, and brokerage services for post-industrial polyethylene terephthalate.
“Being closed loop is something we’ve done since day one. … That’s been our business plan for more than 20 years.” says Johnson.
Large brand owners have committed to using packaging that includes at least 50% recycled content by 2030. At the scale that these companies operate at, it will take significant investments in advanced rPET technology to meet these goals.
Evergreen is pointing the way to the future circular economy with its commitment to 100% rPET for its PET plastic strapping and is proving that rPET is suitable not only for industrial products like plastic strapping, but also for consumer products, including food-grade packaging like the leading consumer beverage brands are beginning to embrace.
EREMAs advanced rPET technologies include decontamination capabilities to recover a very high percentage of the PET material and efficiently produce high quality usable rPET.
See EREMA rPET Technology in Action!
You can see videos of EREMA rPET technology in action showing the deconstruction and recycling of a pallet of plastic bottles including the PET bottles, the printed wrap and the bottle caps, is demonstrated at our recent EREMA Discovery Day.
You can learn about EREMA rPET technology and EREMA’s new bottle-to-bottle process for producing food-contact-compliant Recycled PET pellets here.
Large consumer brands that need to produce food-grade rPET at massive scale will be adopting advanced rPET technologies such as the EREMA / SIPA XTREME Renew systems which you can learn about here.
Interested in advanced rPET technologies and the state of the rPET market? Get the comPETence white paper below!