Continuous water recycling for reusable plastic containers


The pilot study and full scale installation of UF-RO based System to recycle around 75% of wastewater from plastic pallet washing facility is described. The installed System had several issues that had to be resolved. Cooling tower was installed to cool water to below 85 o F. Ion exchange Systems were installed after the UF membranes to remove iron and silica. Multiple filtration systems were installed to reduce TSS before the UF membranes (hollow fibers GE membranes). After that, the reuse System has been working and producing excellent quality effluent that is reused in the washing machines.

Keywords: plastic containers washing water; water reuse; filtration; UF; RO


Keeping in line with IFCO corporation sustainability initiatives, RPC Division in McDonough, GA set out an effort to conserve water at the plant. To help achieve this goal it was decided to recycle the effluent water from several lines of plastic pallet washing. The clean sanitized pallets are used to transport produce (fresh fruits and vegetables) from farm distribution points to supermarkets. The recycling water system was to be designed to treat city water used in the washing process collected in a sump pit, with a moderately high content or organic and inorganic debris and detergent and common hardness and tap water ions. Contaminants include TSS between 150 and 2,500 mg/l; COD between 250 and 4,500 mg/l, salinity up to 2,500 mg/l; detergents up to 80 mg/l, some silicates and ferric iron.

Recover as much wash down water as possible; clean it and then fully reuse it continuously in the container washing process. Containers do come in contact with food.

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