Nampak’s new state-of-the-art glass recycling facility that crushes, cleans and sorts glass according to colour, utilising equipment imported from Austria – forming part of the company’s overall commitment to increase recycling rates across all forms of packaging.
Nampak Wiegand Glass invested some R100 million in a modern recycled glass cullet at its Roodekop operation on the East Rand. This impressive recycling facility enables the company to reduce the requirement for energy and natural resources in the glass making production. Installed with innovative technology and equipment, the facility uses a high-resolution camera system able to recognise a wider glass and bottle colour spectrum. With this new technology, the glass cullet is able to separate waste glass remains according to colour thereby speeding up the recycling process compared to separating different colour glass waste by hand – aiming to process 10 000 t/month of glass using the new technology, which will be more than double its current 4 000 t/month.
Consisting of three in-feed hopper bins and associated horizontal and vertical transportation lines to a
five storey cullet plant, which consists of a concrete podium housing the compressor, the cullet can also separate the waste glass from other material e.g. metals; as well as clean the sorted waste glass and deliver recycled material that is ready for inclusion into the manufacturing process of new glass products. Covering an area of 3 500m², the facility has a production capacity of 24 t per hour upgradable to 36 t per hour.
FAST FACT: Cullet is recycled container glass from bottles, jars and other similar glass vessels and forms a raw material in the glass manufacturing process. Cullet needs to be sorted by colour; magnetic waste needs to be removed as well as any other plastics and paper before it can be used as a raw material. The use of glass cullet allows a reduction of virgin raw materials and reduces the amount of energy required to produce glass as it is processed at a lower temperature. A 10% increase in cullet is estimated to reduce melting energy requirements by 1.5%. It also results in reduced carbon emissions in the region of 8% for CO2, 4% for NOx and 10% for SOx.
Reduction in new materials
The new facility with its new technology has increased demand for more bottles to be recycled which is set to provide agents and informal bottle collectors with economic benefits through their supply of bottles. There is now a reduced need for new materials hence reducing Nampak’s carbon footprint. The recycling facility has created jobs within the local community to ensure bottle collections and drop off points provide incentives to bring used bottles and glass into the collection points, and these are then transported to the plant and processed through the facility. The use of old glass leads to a significant reduction in emissions and also reduces the pollution of the environment due to the collection points and incentive rewards.
Technology and operations
The plant is equipped with the very latest in international technology and Nampak is very proud of their high operating efficiencies, which are in line with the best figures benchmarked worldwide – providing customers with an extremely diverse range of award-winning glass products. The flexibility of their range has been further extended as a result of their rebuilt and enlarged furnace.
The company operates a state-of-the-art, in-house design and testing operation, where they assist customers with bottle inception, technical drawing and design requirements as well as trial mould testing, which are vital phases of the design process. They supply a diverse range of returnable and non-returnable glass bottles to the beverage and food industry, offering a range of standard as well as customer specific designs, ranging in size from 100ml to 1.5ℓ. Their full range of glass bottles are available in a variety of colours and closure finishing options, suitable for wine, carbonated soft drinks, flavoured alcoholic beverages, spirits, beer and the processed foods market. In addition, further design options include embossing, etching and ACL screen-printing in up to five colours.
The recycling plant is a significant contributor to Nampak’s environmental drive as it promotes glass recycling in communities and meets energy efficiency requirements showing commitment to glass recycling in South Africa. In terms of conserving the environment, the use of gas fired drying systems and the recycling of rubbish represents two of the four legs of the company’s approach to reducing greenhouse emissions, which include energy reduction, water usage reduction, waste material efficiency and biodiversity and habitat.
In order to provide a safe and healthy environment for the workers, the plant’s automation requires minimal human intervention thereby reducing the risk of human injuries as a result of accidents. The new cullet plant is equipped with the very latest international technology and is SANS 1840; ISO 22000; OHSAS 18001; and ISO 14001 accredited.