Bioplastic manufacturer NatureWorks says automated systems currently used in plastic recycling has the capability to 100% sort out bioplastic bottles from other petroleum-based plastic bottles.
"This finding is significant because it demonstrates that there is no technological barrier to recycling bottles made from plants instead of oil," according to NatureWorks.
For the past two years, NatureWorks says it has surveyed equipment manufacturers such as Titech, Unisensor, and MSS, that have systems with the potential to sort biopolymers from such other plastics as PET (polyethylene terepthalate), HDPE (high density polyethylene), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and PS (polystyrene).
UK-based non-profit group WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), reported that near-infrared systems can also effectively remove polylactic acid (PLA)-based bioplastic and carton board from a mixed packaging stream.
I do wonder how much those systems will cost plastic recyclers? Still, it seems to be a good investment as bioplastic production is increasing year over year.
For the past year, NatureWorks was able to incorporate its bioplastic product Ingeo in several branded bottled water products such from North Carolina-based Primo Water, New Zealand-based GoodWater, and Italy-based Fonti di Vinadio for its line of mineral water.