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Plastic Recycling in Africa - OK Plast First Plant in Kinshasa with SOREMA Technology

Plastic Recycling in Africa - OK Plast First Plant in Kinshasa with SOREMA Technology
16 Feb 2023  |
SOREMA, global benchmark for polymer washing and recycling plants, is pleased to announce that a new PET bottle recycling plant has been installed in Congo at the company OK Plast in cooperation with the Austrian company Starlinger.

SOREMA, has here made the sorting, grinding and washing stages, key steps in PET bottle recycling technology. Starlinger recycling technology has provided the pelletizing line for bottle-grade rPET pellets.

The OK Plast plant recycles 50 tons of plastic waste per day from the city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The plant was successfully commissioned on April 15, 2022 and is another step in the continued expansion of recycling in Africa, helping to solve the plastic waste problem and providing job opportunities for local communities. In fact, “This plant is our second of its kind in Africa,” says Mehdi Attieh, general manager of OK Plast. In addition, SOREMA has already built recycling plants for Africa in Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia.

This turnkey plant was shipped to recycler OK Plast to produce rPET flakes for applications in “food packaging”. With a useful output of 1,200 kg/h of rPET flakes washed from bottles, which OK Plast collects through collection points installed in different corners of the city of Kinshasa, this production unit contributes to the circular economy through the Upcycling of rPET, which is reintegrated in an increasing percentage in the production of new preforms, bottles and new containers.

The Bottle-to-Bottle rPET washing line includes several stages: automatic feeding, prewashing and de-labeling, followed by wet grinding, hot washing, flotation, and finally rinsing and drying stages. The line incorporates on two selection stages of color and material detectors for both bottles and flakes, as well as a Sorema-Scada 4.0 digital monitoring system for the entire line for efficient control both from local and from remote.

The latest development in Sorema’s PET washing plants is the upgrade of the bottle prewash system. This not only washes bottles after dry pre-sorting, but also removes labels and shrink labels. The washing removes all external contamination, which may also include sand and grit in addition to organic material. The next step involves grinding the bottles into flakes using water grinders. Then, thanks to hot washing with friction modules, synthetic glues and all residual organic contaminants are removed from the bottles. After drying and sorting by color, the flakes, thus properly treated, are transported to a Starlinger recoSTAR PET iV+ plant to produce high quality rPET pellets suitable for direct food contact.

Key to Sorema’s success in recycling plants is the ability to monitor and adapt the technological offering to the evolution of plastic packaging waste and to offer customers complete recycling and washing trials, in the RRC “Recycling Research Center” pilot plant in Alzate Brianza, to determine the mass balance and evaluate the final quality of the product.

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