Valencian companies Grefusa and Emsur Saymopack and the Aligoplast vitoriana have participated with the technological Institute of plastics (Aimplas) in the development of a new technology to improve the ability of films and printed light packaging recycling.
According to a statement from Aimplas, the innovative technology developed in the past two years will allow give a second life to materials that are currently going to landfill or whose recycling is limited to low-value products like trash bags.
This recycled material has been obtained within the framework of the European project CLIPP, which has received funding from the seventh framework programme of the European Union and involving nine partners from Germany, England, Slovenia and Spain.
This project has achieved a recycled material of higher quality which until now was possible with existing processes and that can be used in the manufacture of high value-added products such as films and foils for packing or parts for the automotive and electronics sectors.
The plastic represents 35% of the total of materials used in the container sector by the advantages that offers over other materials, such as strength, low weight, good properties barrier and capacity of sealed, processing and versatility of design, low cost and the possibility of recycling.
But the sector suffers from the consequences of the increase in the price of raw materials, while he faces a more restrictive rules for food contact plastics and while it requires a role protagonist in the waste management, according to sources.
Therefore, for processing firms it is crucial to implement recovery systems that permit reuse the remains of cuts or discards that can involve between 10 and 20% of production.
“The problem arises when it is recover remains of printed and laminated films, since materials and additives usually color material recovered, getting completely opaque films, and its reuse is relegated to low value-added products, such as bags of trash, pipes or urban furniture” says Vicent Martínez, principal investigator for the project on AIMPLAS.
On the other hand, the inks and adhesives based on organic compounds may decompose generating gases and vapours that give rise to a material with lower mechanical properties.
So far we have proposed different physico-chemical processes to recycle such materials so that inks, adhesives and other contaminants can be disposed to be used in applications with greater added value.
They are processes with several stages of crushing, prelavados or extraction, that require significant energy consumption, generate waste such as sewage sludge contaminants and involve the management of solvents with environmental problems.
The technology proposed in the CLIPP project is based on an extrusion process with a system of CO2 injection that allows to extract contaminants in the plastic.
The results achieved have allowed to obtain a plastic material recycled with one much lower level of organic compounds, less odor and lower coloration, while retaining the mechanical properties of Virgin material”
According to Vicent Martínez. In addition, the low cost of the process allows a savings over the use of the original raw material in high value-added applications.
Image courtesy of ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓