16 May LIFE Plasmix project moves on with the implementation of a solid waste mechanical recycling line and plastic waste characterisation
The European LIFE Plasmix project, in which Andaltec Technological Centre is involved, has installed and started up a complete mechanical recycling line aimed at plastic waste retrieval. Hence, the employed material will come from the plastic waste obtained from the yellow containers after solid waste collection. This achievement means a major milestone for this project, since the plastic waste being reused now ended up on landfills or was incinerated before.
This recycling line is located in Alhendín (Granada, Spain), operated by FCC Environment, and it was specifically designed to process this type of waste. The facilities count with different lines for waste separation, as well as mechanical and optical sorting, grinding, friction washing and extrusion-regrinding. The research carried out under the LIFE Plasmix project has allowed to produce materials that are apt for transformation, which is a major breakthrough in the plastic material reuse area.
The project’s consortium, including FCC Environment as Project leader, Anaip, Andaltec, Lindner Washtech (Germany), Pellenc Selective Technologies (France), Stadler Selecciona and University of Granada, recently held a meeting with the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). This meeting served as a debate between the project’s beneficiaries and CINEA officials about the project status and the advances accomplished so far.
Andaltec is manufacturing the prototypes by means of injection and thermoforming moulding, using the materials processed in the recycling plant. Researchers from Andaltec presented in this meeting the results derived from the characterisation performed on the first polypropylene batch coming from that plant. “Within the characterization process of the retrieved plastic materials, we have assessed the material’s thermo-mechanical properties, as well as its quality and purity. Thus, they are suitable to be subsequently marketed in the thermoplastics transformation sector”, as José Antonio Rodríguez, Project leader for Andaltec, explains.
The R&D LIFE Plasmix project, funded by the European Union, intends to increase plastic materials circularity by reducing the amount of waste that is currently incinerated or dumped in landfills. They plan to do it by reusing materials, such as polypropylene or polystyrene which presently offer very low recycling rates. The retrieved material will be reused in the automotive and the food packaging manufacture sectors.
Waste separation and sorting is performed automatically by means of optical separators which are capable of sorting the different types of polymers out. Later, the sorted materials are grinded and moved to a washing, extrusion and regrinding line in order to obtain the products that will be used as raw material for prototype manufacture.
“One of our goals in this project is proving that this regrind meets the specifications requested in the automotive and food packaging sectors. We also want to demonstrate that the retrieved materials can be reused to manufacture new parts by means of conventional plastics transformation technologies, such as injection and thermoforming. Therefore, it will be possible to market a type of waste that currently produces severe environmental damage, as well as to extend its life cycle”, as Francisco Javier Navas, project researcher for Andaltec, states.