swedish plastic recycling
The scaled up facility will include will include 60 near infrared (NIR) sensors and approximately 3.1 miles of conveyor length.
Photo courtesy of Swedish Plastic Recycling.

Swedish alliance invests to scale up plastics facility

Alliance of companies and trade associations will invest $120 million to expand recycling plant.

September 1, 2021

A consortium of Sweden-based trade groups and companies is investing to build what they call the largest and most modern plastic recycling plant in the world.

Known as Site Zero and operated by Swedish Plastic Recycling (Svensk Plaståtervinning), the facility is being built to recycle up to 200,000 metric tons of plastic per year, according to its backers.

Swedish Plastic Recycling is owned by “a large part of the Swedish business community,” according to a press release issued by the consortium. The investors say Site Zero, in Motala, Sweden, will be able to recycle “all plastic packaging from Swedish households and makes plastics circular – completely without any CO2 emissions.”

The investors are not new to plastic recycling, as Motala already hosts a recycling facility they call “the most efficient in Europe, that is now being developed with next-generation technology.”

“We are doubling our capacity and will be able to handle 200,000 metric tons of plastic packaging per year,” says Mattias Philipsson, CEO of Swedish Plastic Recycling. “This creates the conditions needed for receiving and eventually recycle all plastic packaging from Swedish households.”

After the expansion, Site Zero will be 60,000 square meters (645,000 square feet) and employ up to 200 people. The automated equipment array will include 60 near-infrared (NIR) sensors and approximately five kilometers (3.1 miles) of conveyor length.

Swedish Plastic Recycling credits “cutting-edge technology” for its future ability to sort and prepare polypropylene (PP), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) trays and bottles, PP film, expanded polystyrene (EPS), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), two grades of polyolefin mixes, plus metal and other nonplastic scrap.

“Any small parts of plastic that remain after the sorting process are separated to be sent to chemical recycling, or to become new composite products,” states Swedish Plastic Recycling, adding, “At Site Zero, zero packaging goes to incineration.”

The investors say the plant will be powered by renewable energy, including plans to produce renewable energy by “covering the building’s large flat roof with solar panels.”

The firm says it is investing $120 million in the facility upgrade, which is scheduled to be completed in 2023.  “We also are preparing for washing and granulation of the plastic in phase two, which is planned for 2025,” adds Philipsson. “Then our entire plastic flow in Sweden can become circular.”

He continues, “This investment creates the prerequisites needed for making Sweden a world leader in plastic recycling. Being able to do it together with our producer customers and owners, who consist of large parts of the Swedish business community, is very inspiring.”

Investors in Swedish Plastic Recycling include Plastbranschens Informationsråd, Dagligleverantörernas Förbund, Svensk Handel and Svensk Dagligvaruhandel. Co-investors include Svenska Metallkretsen, Pressretur, Returkartong and Svensk Glasåtervinning.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency also is contributing $20.8 million in financing through a climate investment aid program.