Closing the loop for engineering plastic waste using advanced physical recycling methods

Norbert Fraunholcz

Engineering plastics (e.g., ABS, PC and PMMA) have superior mechanical properties, such as strength and gloss. Therefore, they are primarily used in high-end products, such as electrical and electronic (E&E) devices and passenger cars. When it comes to end-of-life solutions, closed-loop recycling is the only sustainable option for this group of plastics. This is mainly due to a lack of alternative product applications to absorb lower-grade recycled material in quantity. In turn, closed-loop recycling implies very high quality requirements on the recycled material to replace virgin resins.

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R&D as a core pillar for driving commercial success in chemical recycling

Itero present their three step approach to research and development to ensure the success of its chemical recycling technology. Starting with core chemistry, Itero have built upon their expertise in pyrolysis of polymers by processing real waste, studying both the chemical and physical attributes. Beyond this, operation of a full scale R&D facility at Brightlands will drive commercial success.

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Molecules as a Service – From Linear to Circular

The transformation to a more sustainable, circular economy requires a variety of changes to traditional thinking about technology, business models and ecosystem dynamics. Becoming circular is impossible without embracing all of these changes. Yet, itr is possible even for individuals to start and accelerate impactful change. Triple Helix will demonstrate the Molecules as a Service approach as a model for fundamental change and will discuss real life cases such as SurePUre, the polyurethanes recycling/upcycling pilot plant near Antwerp.

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Feedstock recycling of PLA – a biobased polymer goes circular

Plastics from renewable resources like polylactide (PLA) are gaining more and more market share. With the proliferation of PLA, issues concerning the end-of-life options of PLA products gain more and more importance. One possibility, regarded as being the most favorable several years ago, is the processing of PLA in industrial composting plants.

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Circularity PET/Polyester evolution or revolution?

by Maurizio Crippa, gr3n SA (video interview)

The presentation is focused on microwave assisted chemical recycling process able to up-cycle the PET/polyester. The chemical recycling is not presented as one of the recycling methods but as a complementary technology to the mechanical recycling. The beneficial effect of this synergy is the potential terrific increase of the recycling rate because the chemical recycling is able to deal with contaminated and complicated packaging and garments.

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Is it possible to turn plastic waste into new plastic in a sustainable way?

Waste plastic can be turned into new plastics competing with plastics made from virgin fossil oil via pyrolysis /chemical recycling. This will change the current recycling value chain into a new sustainable ecosystem.

The new ecosystems contains the following steps in the materials cycle:

  • End of life Plastic Waste Stream Collection
  • Cleaning, Sorting and Separation
  • Recycling
    • Chemical recycling
    • Thermal and Thermochemical recycling / Pyrolysis
  • Processing of recycled materials (plastics and chemicals)
  • Production of recycled plastic materials
  • Reuse of the newly created plastics in applications
  • End of life plastic waste stream collection
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