Greentech, where PET bottles start a new life!
Greentech, part of the Green Group holding, is the group’s specialist unit in recycling plastic packaging. Actually, it is one of the largest companies of its kind in South-Eastern Europe, with recycling facilities in Romania (in Iasi and Buzau), as well as in Serbia, Greece, Ukraine, and Macedonia.
In Romania, Greentech operates since 2002 as one of the first private companies in Romania specialized in plastics recycling. It’s a business we like – it’s not too often that you can honestly say that the company you work for makes the world a better, cleaner place.
Our facilities located in Romania can process about 4,000 tons of PET bottles every month, or about 40% of all packages of this type sold on the market. In other words, we can recycle almost half of all PET bottles that are used in our country and buy about 90% of all PET packages sold on the recycling market!
And it’s more: we also recycle other kinds of plastics, from polyethylene film and bags to all kinds of tubes, bottles and containers – which are made of a different type of plastic called polypropylene. We can recycle coat hangers and CD cases (which are made of polystyrene). We recycle plastic automotive parts like door handles, bicycle helmets, plastic suitcases, toys, even plastic boats! All these are usually manufactured from a material called ABS, which is easily identifiable – it is a very hard and shiny plastic, obtained by mold casting; Lego toys are a handy example.
In Europe, we are the largest recycler of PET and polyolefin waste (the latter is a category that includes polyethylene, polypropylene and several other types of plastic).
What do we do with waste?
Simple: first we wash them, then we grind them, put them through a blender, add a pinch of salt... We’re joking, of course. The recycling processes are essentially the same for all types of plastic waste. In our facilities we process PET bottles from companies specializing in waste collection, from companies that generate large volumes of such packages or bottles collected through our own operations.
PET bottles are placed onto a conveyor belt, where they are cleaned then sorted by colors, and then they enter into 7 milling and washing processing lines, where they are shredded and repeatedly washed and dried. The end result is high-purity PET flakes, color sorted and ready to be used by plastic producing companies.
What are PET flakes used for?
Many things are made out of PET flakes: from clothing (PET and polyester are actually the same material!) to carpets, shoes, suitcases, upholstery, fibres for sleeping bags or synthetic fill parkas, headlights, car bumpers, grilles, car doors, or other PET packaging, of course.
In the case of polyethylene and polypropylene waste, the recycling technology is similar: sorting by color, grinding, and then washing. Unlike PET bottles, plastic bags have to be melted after shredding and washing. The end product is polyethylene and polypropylene pellets that are used to make plastic film and garbage bags, and even molded plastic products. The same goes for ABS waste, which is also recycled into pellets.