In recent years, the importance of recycling has come to the forefront. But what happens to all the plastic we place in our recycling bins every week? Atlas Copco customer, rPlanet Earth gave us an inside look at what happens to the recycled plastic they receive and how compressed air helps them reach their goals.
rPlanet Earth, based in Vernon, California, is a unique, leader when it comes to recycling post-consumer plastics. Wish a mission of having zero plastic waste on planet Earth, the rPlanet team consists of a group of passionate recycling and packaging experts dedicated to closing the loop on single-serve PET (polyethylene terephthalate) material through recycling and production of high-quality post-consumer recycled packaging solutions.
rPlanet operates the first of its kind vertically integrated recycling and packaging production plant in North America supplying end-users in numerous product markets. All products made by rPlanet contain up to 100% post-consumer recycled PET and once used can be placed in curbside collection bins for further recycling and reuse.
With a focus on sustainability, when rPlanet Earth wanted to save waste on their nitrogen supply, they contacted Atlas Copco and working together we came up with an incredible solution. “Our challenges historically around nitrogen were the high cost of liquid nitrogen,” said Mac Schlicher, Senior Process Engineer for rPlanet Earth said. “We were actually using too much nitrogen, and this was affecting the equipment and we had trucks showing up roughly every 8 hours refilling the tank. Atlas Copco did a fantastic job of being with us at every part of the process. We had a lot of questions on purity, capacity, redundancy, upkeep, and they really brought it all together in one package, even during commissioning when we turned the machine on, they were here the entire day. The project was the biggest cost savings project we've done today in our short history at our rPlanet Earth. But we're looking to save almost $80,000 a month in liquid nitrogen cost.”
As part of this project rPlanet installed Atlas Copco NGP550+ Nitrogen Generators. The generators are used in the decontamination process where they are able to receive 99.9% pure Nitrogen which leads not only to clear water bottles and a reduction in Nitrogen waste but also a cost savings of nearly $1Million a year on liquid Nitrogen.
In addition to the Nitrogen generators, rPlanet Earth also uses Atlas Copco air compressors to feed the nitrogen system and to move plastic throughout the facility.
Want more details on how on-site nitrogen generators work, or are you simply researching more about the differences between on-site nitrogen and bottled nitrogen? Learn more about Nitrogen generators.