We think it’s time that we share some information about how the recycling process of the PET material works.
Cleanaway PET Svenska AB is part of the Veolia Umweltservice GmbH group and, due to years of experience, is one of the market leaders all segments in PET recycling in Europe. They explain in a very good pedagogic way how the PET material recycling process works.
We will take you through the process!
1. Bale feed
In the first stage, the PET bottles are pre-sorted and foreign objects such as metals, tins and other contaminants are separated from the PET and then sorted according to colour. The process for food-grade PET only uses clear bottles for processing.
2. Bale dissolver
The clear PET bales are separated by the bale dissolver. In this step, the bottle caps pass through a drum sieve that sorts them.
3. Sorting bin
A staff member inspects the clear PET bottles again manually and removes any remaining contaminants.
A mill grinds the clean bottles into flakes.
5. Hot wash
Hot water mixed with an alkaline solution cleans the flakes of labels and drink residue as well as large dirt particles.
6. Swim-sink separation
After the hot wash, the material lands in a swim-sink separation tank where the different types of plastic are separated from each other using their physical density. The HDPE and PP plastics float to the surface and the PET sinks to the bottom of the tank. This process separates HDPE and PP as a raw material for new caps from the PET flakes.
The PET material is dried to facilitate further processing.
8. Air classifier
By using an air classifier, small foreign particles such as multilayer films or labels can be removed. The washed flakes are then further processed in non-food applications.
9. Caustic soda treatment
The washed flakes produced are further processes as input material for manufacturing food-grade flakes. A special device moistens the washed flakes with caustic soda to later achieve a “peeling effect” on the exterior of the flakes.
10. Surface cleaning with vacuum treatment
Once the material has been dried, it comes in a rotary kiln which sterilises the surface once again whilst also removing any odorants. Because the PET materials are not melted, the polymer chains remain completely intact.
11. Rewash and drying
The salt formed during this process is sieved and rewashed. In addition, the material is neutralised and then dried
12. Sieving and sorting
The food-grade flakes get rid of oversized and fine particles during the sieving process. A colour sorter then separates any remaining colour PET flakes and foreign particles. Foreign materials such as PVC or nylon discolour and can therefore easily be sorted out. A laser sorting system is also able to recognize foreign particles which have not been discoloured and separates the finest foreign particles.
All talk about LED made us want to explain to you what it really is. We took help from Ledgiganten.se that explains LED like this:
“LED is an abbreviation of Light Emitting Diode, that is a diode emitting light. The effect is a form of eletroluminiscens arising by the material of the diode. Colors may vary and be within the ultraviolet, visible and infrared spectrum. LEDs was invented back in the 1920s, but first in the 60th century, the diodes that could give visible light was developed.
LEDs have been used for a long time as indicator lamps in electronics and displays, but as it develops new brighter varieties, they have also begun to be used for lighting. More recently, LED lamps that can replace traditional incandescent lamps have been developed. You’ll also find LED technology in your flat screen TV, on the dashboard, the flashing lights of your car as well as in industrial and traffic environment where the lights must withstand tougher treatment.”
Advantages of LED lighting:
- Increased lifetime of the lights.
- Reduced power consumption.
- Saves money.
- Benefits on maintenance and safety.
- Emits less heat and therefore suitable in confined spaces.
- More robust and durable than incandescent bulbs.
- May give different color without the use of filters.
- No IR or UV radiation that can be faded. (Ideal picture lighting)
- Easy creation of focused light without flickering.
- Contains unlike energy saving lamps no mercury or other hazardous heavy metals.
- Works even when it is colder than -35 degrees, unlike energy saving lamps that only withstand -25.
Click on the picture to visit the webiste of Ledgiganten!
We have reflected on what we discussed in the interview with Anna Leckström, how important light is to us Swedes – well for all of us Scandinavians. For those of you who have never lived or visited the northern part of Europe during the autumn and winter months, from October to March, here are some examples of how light effects us.
- From March to October, it’s light from early morning to late evening, during the summer months it light almost around the clock.
- October to March it’s rather bright from around 08 am to around 15-16 pm. Up north is even a shorter time of the day. We live then in the dark for six months a year. That means we go to work in the dark, when we then go home it’s already dark again.
- The days when the sun does not appear, indoor lighting is the only light we receive. Do you understand that indoor lighting is our sun many months of the year?
- We are sensitive to light, we prefer a warmer light in compare to a cold light. We don’t understand this fluorescent light at a lot of restaurants in Southern Europe. When we go to a restaurant, we want to have a feeling we might not always get at home, candle light, cozy decor, soft sound and great service.
- Tired is something that we are at least 6 months a year, usually around the clock.
- Cold, viruses and tonsillitis, we have probably the most in the world.
- Every year in March, we are like bears who go out of the den, or calves coming out to pasture. We always ask ourselves – ” how did we get through this year again?”
But why are you not moving then you might think? No, we live for the fantastic fine summer days we have for 4-5 months a year. With lovely greenery and stunning summer evenings.
But it doesn’t rain a lot?! Oh yes, very much in recent years, but we have forgotten that after 6 months in the dark. ;-)
We hade the pleasure to interview Anna Lecktström, a Swedish designer that together with Kolbrún Leósdóttir runs the company formforyou. They have for example designed the well known restaurant Jonas in Stockholm. Anna is also on the board for the Swedish Lighting Society. We asked her about the market for lighting and environment.
Regarding lighting and illumination for buildings and properties, do you think that today there is a greater demand than previously on energy saving and environmentally friendly materials?
Yes I think so , and especially if you look at the projects in a public sector, and especially then maybe municipalities and governments who have the eyes on them in a completely different way then others. Even if you always do it with your heart because you are really passionate about certain issues, but also somewhere that it should be like that, and that they must adhere to certain requirements and restrictions. This applies to both lighting and energy saving, but also other materials. So I’m sure that there is a greater demand for it today.
Then I think it is a bit different between the public and private customers. Among individuals, there are probably a demand, but it’s a fact that the price tag of products and materials based on energy saving is a bit more expensive. Even if it comes to mind that if you choose an energy efficient light source, in a longer term you have saved the extra money it cost at the purchase of the product. Try to justify it from a longer term perspective, than a short term.
In Sweden, one is more aware of what you do today, you are thinking of food waste, but also more and more about wich material to use, and buying more organic food etc. We are about to become more aware of what we use.
Yes definitely, and I think we had this “green thinking” influence about 10 years ago. But then it didn’t really bloom. But now, I really think it has done that, and people are more aware of everything, regarding what we’re talking about, but also in terms of organic food, locally produced and so on. So I think there is a realization today, then we have not come all the way and this kind of products are still more expensive , which means that for example a family with children that dosen’t have a big monthly income, of course not only can buy organic products for example.
If you then as a designer and as someone who will do a room attractive, with the idea of energy saving and environmental awareness. Do you get inspired by such kind of challenge or are you thinking that it is too difficult and complicated?
I definitely think it’s inspiring ! I would see it as a challenge to try to get the customers to see the benefits. Today, people are talking a lot about for example sponsor a child or similar and many companies use it in their marketing. I think that it’s also a way to push in interior designer projects . If you can get the customer to understand that they not only do something good, they are also saving the energy and the environment etc. But if they are still doubtful, get them to understand how they can use the things they do for a good cause in their marketing. Many companies are doing it and it becomes a part of their “this is us, we take a position.” So I think that’s a good push point too, at least when we ‘re talking business and public settings, to get them to choose energy saving materials and products.
If you then get to think freely, what do you see within the market for lighting, but also if you miss something within design, function and attribute?
Yes, lately people here are talking a lot about LED. A lot has changed and the LED seems to become the new standard. But what I often find with the LED, even thou it’s getting better and better and all products including LED are dropping in price, is that I still think there is a gap between technological solutions and energy saving LED models, versus what we ‘re talking about with a warmer light. And then if you then go back to a traditional incandescent. The geography plays a major role in this. Here in the north we have a cold climate, it’s winter and it’s dark six months of the year. Here we want to have a warm light. In compare to if you for example travel to southern Europe and enters a restaurant and then it’s like, fluorescent lamps. That’s something else that we don’t seek. And, I think one would need to work more with the LED, in question for it to be easier to aim or make it warmer, so that it gets a more humane light and becomes more accessible.
Another thing that I’m thinking of is more of a product reflection. It already exists, but I have not found any one that I think is particularly good looking, if you choose to go on the aesthetic. And it is rechargeable, smaller luminaries. If you’re imagining a restaurant, you are assuming that there will be candlelights, and that’s fantastic. But it also means a certain risk with candles and if it then would be some type of development of a small luminaire that still gives this small, almost intimate light, but would be rechargeable. Then it would be some type of docking center so that you could just pick them up and set out on the tables, just as you would tune out a candle. I’d like to see this in environments such as restaurants, cafes and bars.
If you let your imagination run free and think of something that would be useful for illumination in the future. What do you think of then?
One thing that would be interesting to explore more, is the Tunable Light that is being talked about a lot at this moment, it means that in a single luminaire, in a single light source, we can have different color temperatures. In the same light source , the light can go from for example cold to warm. Then you can control the type of light temperature that you want. For the chosen purpose. Because if we go back to the bars and restaurants, daytime , then you might want a type of light, the evening another type. Spring, Winter another and then think of if you could combine it into a single light source. It would be very interesting if one could develop luminaires for that purpose.
And then also the issue of daylight in Sweden. It has of course also a lot to do with that we live in a very dark country. And that we need daylight to feel good, and you lose so much of the light in a room, if you will just step away at 1 meter from a window, so I also believe there is still a lot to do with the daylight illumination.
Another thing I think you see more and more also are these control systems, one well known company is KNX . The concept is advanced, where you can control all the lighting activity in a room. And you see this more and more also for home interiors. One might ask why it would be good? But just think of being at home and knowing that you’ve forgot to turn the light off in the kitchen, but your’re sitting in the living room watching television and don’t want to get up and turn the light off . Imagining then that you have this kind of control, it can be linked to a smartphone, a tablet , etc. so you just switch off the light that way. This is also a product in this segment that will be developed much more, it will be much easier and user friendly for everyone.
With that said, we wish you all a Happy Easter!
In Sweden there is a society for lighting products, called Svenska Belysningssällskapet.
This society aims to increase the knowledge, creativity and development within lighting and to enhance the understanding for the importance of the light for the overall environment.
It’s a non-profit association that arranges meetings, lectures and discussions regarding actual subjects.
They have around 500 members.
We encourage those of you who have an interest in this, to join the society. Are you interested? Click here.
Now we are up and running on Facebook as well. Follow us there for the latest news. Updates about the blog will also be announced there.
We hope you all have a nice weekend! And don’t forget to recycle!
RecycleLED (click on the photo)
It might seem tricky to deliver information about these kind of topics in a creative and engaging way. It might seem like recycling for example, can be something complicated and not so interesting. But it’s actually the other way around if you look at some good examples.
Sweden is a country that is cutting edge in working with questions about the environment, and the waste management is one of the things they are good at. There are many websites to visit for good information about recycling, and we will write much more about that further on. But in this moment, there is one in particular we find very interesting.
Sopskolan (The school about garbage) is a website for kids. But we can all learn a lot regarding recycling, in a fun and creative way!
For example will you learn about:
- What’s happening when we are recycling materials
- Why is it important to recycle?
- How much energy are we saving when we are recycling – through a fun quiz!
And the truth is that there is a lot to learn, things we didn’t know are given to us in a fun and learning way. Furthermore, the website is customized for teachers.
Make a visit! Now you don’t have any excuse not to learn more, and you can in a fun and creative way teach your kids.
Good luck and many thanks to Avfall Sverige for making this website!
You will observe that the website unfortunately only is in Swedish. But we think that you, by using google translate, writing the link of the website, can be able to read the information in English also.
Don’t miss out on the story of Mr.Led, follow RecycleLED on Instagram and follow the search for Mrs. Led.
More love to the people!
The prestigious newspaper The Guardian published in February this year, an article highlighting various initiatives around lamp designs with less impact on the environment including the RecycleLED luminaire, ReadySet from designer Mike Lin, GravityLight and Liter of Light – also known as the Solar Bottle Bulb.
Signed by renowned journalist Martin LaMonica (@mlamonica), a specialist in energy, technology and business, the article explains the RecycleLED’s features, and how the light fixture consists of a series of cubes made from recycled PET, the plastic used for bottled water and soft drinks.
The cubes can be rotated on a stem to alter the light direction and consumers can choose how many cubes to include. In addition to choosing recyclable materials, the product was designed so it can be assembled with clips rather than screws, making it easy to disassemble and recycle when the led lamp doesn’t work anymore.
The original article can be found here.
On this blog we will publish interviews we are making with people with different knowledge, like for example, architects, interior designers, researchers, manufacturers etc. Regarding their knowledge of the market and their job titles we find it interesting to know their thoughts and opinions.
First out is Emilio Cubillos Gimeno, a Spanish architect working for the firm Jaime Sanahuja Asociados in Valencia. A firm that since its establishment in the late 80′s, has based their projects on criteria’s of quality, innovation and creativity, with the objective to match the level of architecture in Valencia with the best Spanish and international architecture.
We asked him about his thoughts regarding lighting products, and his experience as an architect working with lighting materials and design, when constructing properties and buildings.
His opinion is that the demand for energy saving products is broader today than before, regarding the increasing energy prices in Spain, and that the awareness of the environment not yet has a part in it. Therefore, he don’t think that the customers generally find it possible to pay more money for products where values like reuse, recycling and energy saving has been taking in to account.
With that said, a lot would have to do with the financial situation in Spain. “People seek the maximum possible economy savings at the expense of all ethical, moral or whatever you call values, including the environmental aspects”, he says.
When asking him what he are missing in the area of lighting products, he answers “luminaries with wireless controls to avoid the tangle of wiring that occurs on walls and ceilings“. The different types of Lutron systems, that already exists on the market, he also believe will be a part of the future lighting systems.
Finally, we wanted to know if he knows about the PET material, as you will know as a material commonly used to contain soft drinks. We think it’s a very interesting material, partly because it has a lower environmental impact than for example aluminium, and because it’s a recyclable material. Emilio knows about the material and sees no reason why not using it in his work, particularly since he has an interest for recyclable materials.
We give our thanks to Emilio for his time and thoughts. Visit the architect firm here.