Recyclable Polymers

Students: Andreas Sommerfeldt, Sunirmal Pal, Kaja Borup Løvschall and Emil Andersen

Project 1:

End-use applications from opaque rPET (could potentially be other excessive and notapplicable polymers)

According to the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP), PET is the most recycled plastic packaging material in Europe with 1.8 million tons of PET bottles recycled in 2015. Clear and light blue PET bottles can be decontaminated and thereby upgraded to food grade recycled (r)PET, which gives them the potential to provide a high value market. The fraction of opaque rPET has very limited end-use applications meaning that sorting facilities systematically remove it from their recycling streams or reject it prior to the recycling process. The result is a high proportion of opaque PET bottles that cannot be recycled into current applications.

Is it possible to modify unwanted opaque rPET in order to make it suitable for new end-use applications?

For instance, one could use discarded car tires to modify the impact strength of rPET or use eggshells or feathers as mineral filling in rPET as these exist in abundance as a bi-product from the chicken industry.

 

Project 2:

Breakdown of polymers

Breakdown of polymers in terms of selective breakdown via C-C bond cleavage and understanding and preventing the breakdown/devaluation of the polymer in a circular economy context. The following topics are interesting

  • General methods for C–C bond cleavage or other selective bond cleavages
  • Categorization of polymers eligible for recycling (ranking systems according to ease of breakdown)
  • Cleaning procedures
  • Quality impact upon subsequent cycles
  • Recycling vs breakdown in context of circular economy (how to maintain the value of polymers?

Involved partnes: Aarhus University (Kim Daasbjerg, Steen Uttrup Pedersen, Alexander Zelikin, Mogens Hinge) ECCO, LEGO, Færch Plast, Teknologisk Institut

Data, progress, and status on the project is found here.

If you’re interested in hearing more about this project, SPOMAN or want to hear about the possibilities for starting a collaboration, please contact us at stinek@inano.au.dk.