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Bottle Washing

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Refillable glass bottles are being recognised as one of the most environmentally acceptable forms of packaging beverages. Bottle washing is the process by which soiled bottles are made ready for filling with beverages. It is a high temperature process that consumes significant amounts of water. This results in high costs per washed bottle from the energy and water costs. Effective bottle washing, especially for environmentally acceptable results, must take this into account and optimise the process with regards to both energy and water consumption.

The purpose of bottle washing is for bottles to be re-used. Washed bottles must be acceptable in appearance and microbiologically suitable for containing potable liquids.

Cleaning is only a part of the process, the latter part concerns disinfection. Cleaning and disinfection perform four important parts of the process:


  • Detaching labels

  • Removing interior and external soils

  • Scale control in wash section and rinsing sections -  aluminate from aluminum foil (wash section) and calcium carbonate (rinse sections) are examples

  • Producing microbiologically acceptable bottles

While scale control and final microbiology are considered fixed parameters of washing, labels and soil vary according to the type of recovered bottles. When containers have differing glues, labels, and soil, this can frequently cause unpredictable cleaning problems. Knowing how to mitigate these issues is part of the specialist knowledge needed to run bottle washers successfully. It is reliant on knowing the impacts of the wash solution and rinse section chemistry, the temperature profile of the washer and the many other variables that are present in the operation have on the wash results.

These many factors influence the success of the washing process. Choice of the correct chemicals, correct application of the selected chemicals, and recognition of the physical appearance and quality of the washed bottles are basic requirements for competency to plan and manage for a positive cleaning result.

The use of  PET (polyethyleneterephthalate ),  PEN (polyethylenenaphthalate ) and  PC (polycarbonate ) containers necessitates extra care in maintaining the integrity of the plastic material on which chemical stress cracking and haze must be prevented.

The NutroChem bottle wash program takes all of these into account and has been designed to give optimum results, including energy usage and water consumption by being able to analyse the variables in each washer and putting together the most suitable chemistry and application methods package for the washer.

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