Industrial Recycling Solution for Detergent Bottles Made of HDPE

German company Technology has presented a technology solution for the bottle-to-bottle recycling of detergent bottles made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

According to the company, it was able to reprocess – almost entirely – used shampoo and shower gel bottles without any loss of quality in a water-saving process at the technical facility in Görlitz. “The rHDPE granulate obtained from bimodal high-density polyethylene was completely reintroduced into the production cycle, producing new detergent bottles solely from recycled granulate, that meet the quality standards of new products. With this, offers the technology for a closed HDPE cycle – without the addition of virgin granulate necessary in other processes.” The clients for this project were the German multinational company Beiersdorf AG and the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging.

The Recycling Process
Before recycling, the used bottles are first sorted by color with the caps and crushed using a granulator, the company described the process. “A dry cleaner then removes residual ingredients inside the bottles without any wastewater. Stubborn contaminants are first soaked and then removed from the plastic using friction and hot water. The label adhesive is then removed, and the material is mechanically and thermally dried. Finally, the air stream of the zig-zag separator separates the bottles and caps from label particles according to their bulk density. To separate the HDPE from the other components for reuse at the end, the polypropylene is separated using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR). After compounding, it is regranulated into rHDPE and can be directly reused to produce new bottles.”

In the project, produced 20,000 bottles through this method for recycling rHDPE, the company informed. “These bottles have passed all the necessary tests: They are dimensionally accurate, stable, odorless and have no imperfections such as specks or inclusions.” Just like containers made from virgin material, they can be labeled and closed tightly with a newly applied PP cap.

About Technology GmbH develops, manufactures and sells machines and systems for recycling plastics. The focus is on low-wastewater cleaning, washing and separation of waste material. Systems from Technology are typically customized special machines. The company employs 14 people and is active globally, including the UK, the USA and the Czech Republic.


(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 2/2022, Page 32, Photo: Technology)