According to the United Nations Environment Programme about 280 million tonnes of plastic is produced globally each year and only a very small percentage is recycled.
Since the generation of waste is inevitable while meeting consumer demand, innovative and eco-friendly techniques must be devised and research should be conducted to address this issue.
The plastic waste generated at Dilmah during the tea packaging process is generally disposed through incineration. As Dilmah strives to reduce its plastic footprint and become more sustainable, it inaugurated “Dilmah Recycling”, a facility that will convert a significant portion of Dilmah’s tea packaging waste materials into reusable items.
This is achieved via an upcycling process which converts the waste into composite materials that develop upon exposure to certain temperature and pressure conditions. During the first stage of production, the waste material goes through a sorting and inspection process to ensure that it is free from materials such as tea debris, plastic tape etc. It is then passed through a shredder to break the material into smaller workable sizes. Following this, the shredded material is subjected to high temperature and pressure in a hot press machine for a fixed period of time during which the original material undergoes transformation yielding a product which has altered composition and properties. The final output resulting from this process is set inside the cold press to speed up the cooling process of the material and later utilized in the production of decorative and construction material.