Overcoming the multiple technical challenges that create barriers to entry is a deterrent to many recyclers seeking to achieve closed loop recycling, delegates at an international plastics recycling and recovery conference heard. Using practical examples of successful trials and case studies, two experts from resource recovery specialists Axion Consulting highlighted the benefits of this approach at the Identiplast 2010 event in London today. (November 10)
In ‘Why closed loop recycling makes good sense’, Axion Director Roger Morton outlined how quality, certification and investment issues are among the many testing issues faced by firms striving to extract value from end-of-life plastics, such as TV scrap, PVC and household waste packaging.“Attaining high ‘good as new’ specifications for recycled polymers and the need for expensive equipment can deter some recyclers. That’s why only the best can achieve closed loop,” asserted Roger. “But closed loop recycling has to be the way forward as it maximises material value, while minimising carbon emissions, retaining feed material value and supply security.
“Given that our plastic-derived resources are finite, it does make sense to re-use them in the best way possible. It’s also a great story for the end user who benefits from greater product value! Recognising this, Axion has invested significantly in innovative process and separation technologies, along with carbon footprinting capabilities, to help make closed loop recycling a sustainable reality.” Tackling the obstacles to effective food grade recycling of post-consumer polypropylene packaging was covered by another Axion consultant, Robin Hilder in his conference presentation.
Funded by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), the multi-partner project looked at process improvements and packaging design changes needed to achieve food grade recycling performance for post consumer polypropylene waste. His talk explained how pilot scale trials showed optimising the process is dependent on several important factors, including retrieving the purest food contact materials from this waste stream to exclude non-food post consumer contaminants. The study also suggests further solutions, such as automated sorting, better label removal and improved cleaning of heavier pollutants, to improve material recovery volumes and quality.
The annual Identiplast conference attracts leading international experts to share ‘Best Practice’ studies in end-of-life plastics between all relevant stakeholders. It covers a wide range of topics related to the collection, sorting, identification, recovery and recycling of end-of-life plastics.