TOMRA technology to be used in new BariQ recycling facility capable of producing 38,600 tons of rPET each year
In the company's goal to meet the increasing demand for rPET in Africa and Europe, BariQ has invested in a plastic recycling facility. Its industry experience combined with BariQ's capability to produce food-grade rPET, provides the necessary foundation to increase recycling in the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region.
BariQ has welcomed ministers from the Egyptian government as well as ambassadors, producers, equipment providers, and local and foreign financial institutes to its expansion ceremony for the construction of a new bottle-to-bottle recycling facility. At the event, BariQ revealed the new plant's design to produce more than 38,600 tons (35,000 tonnes) of food-grade rPET annually, while saving more than 88,000 tons (80,000 tonnes) of CO2 emissions.
The new facility will work alongside a recycling plant that has been fully operational since 2010 and features four of TOMRA's sensor-based sorting systems that are able to process more than 3.3 tons (3 tonnes) of PET bottles per hour. The company produces an annual amount of 16,500 tons (15,000 tonnes) of food-grade rPET that is compliant with the standards set by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration), Health Canada, and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals).
Meeting the growing rPET demands with a new facility
Due to the increased demand for rPET from numerous industries, BariQ is scaling up its capabilities and constructing a new plant. Planned to be fully operational in 2023, the new facility will process 3.8 to 4.4 tons (3.5-4 tonnes) of post-consumer PET waste per hour. As quality demands become more stringent and the amount of post-consumer plastic waste is on the rise, the choice of future-forward sorting technology and reliable partners was crucial and led to BariQ selecting TOMRA.
"TOMRA has been a dependable, knowledgeable partner for the past 10 years. Thanks to our close collaboration, their remote and on-site service support, and high-performance machines, we achieve excellent sorting results. While there are more providers in the market to choose from today, we selected TOMRA because they provide us with an overall solution that sorts all polymer types and flakes," Ahmed Elkasaby said, BariQ chief operations officer.
The new plant will be equipped with two new generation AUTOSORT machines for presorting PET bottles and trays. Additionally, two AUTOSORT FLAKE units will provide further purification that includes polymer sorting by material and color as well as the reliable removal of metal contaminants. AUTOSORT features FLYING BEAM and DEEP LAISER technologies among others to accurately separate PET bottles by material and colour in a multistep sorting process. After the presorted material has been shredded, washed, and dried, AUTOSORT FLAKE creates a pure clear/light blue PET flake fraction which is then processed and transformed into pellets. The end product is a predicted 38,600 tons (35,000 tonnes) of per-year production capacity that will be sold to global producers and converters looking to increase their recycled content with food-grade rPET.
"I have been accompanying the project right from the beginning and am delighted that we are part of this exciting project," said Elie Sandros, TOMRA Recycling area sales manager Middle East and Africa, said. "Seeing the evolution of the country's waste management and the technical advancements we made in the previous years, makes me confident that our collaboration will support plastic manufacturers in meeting their recycled content targets and curb plastic recycling in the MENA and MEA markets."
The problems of mismanaged waste and infrastructure
The problem of waste piling up in nature is a prevalent issue globally and countries in Africa are no exception. Lacking investments and insufficient waste management infrastructure in some regions make it difficult to promote recycling without downgrading plastics. Given the fact that the African population is predicted to double by 2025 along with a growing volume of post-consumer plastic waste, the need to find solutions and establish legislations to enable recycling and mitigate plastic pollution becomes even more urgent.
Despite the challenges, the continent is taking strong action in tackling plastic waste. A complete or partial ban on plastic carrier bags has already been introduced in 30 countries to combat plastic waste blocking waterways and drainage systems. Apart from that, countries like South Africa have recognized the enormous potential of legislation such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) initiatives to finance and advance waste and recycling infrastructure.
EPR initiatives give producers the responsibility for the adequate and sustainable management of the plastic products they produce for the market. Therefore, they help to make sure that plastic waste is properly managed, from design to the end of a product's lifecycle. Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria already have an EPR system in place. South Africa only made it mandatory for plastic packaging importers and manufacturers in 2021. Producers, whether they operate locally or globally, are asked to adhere to the regulatory framework and contribute to achieving the goals set.
"With BariQ investing in the new facility in Egypt and using the latest sorting equipment, we jointly give producers in Africa access to larger quantities of high-quality rPET resin which help them meet the recycled content targets as well as their individual pledges. I am delighted that our collaboration, which started 10 years ago, has led us to make a considerable change in Africa," said Tasos Bereketidis, TOMRA Recycling regional director of emerging markets.