A recently launched European-funded research project aims to revolutionise the recycling of difficult-to-recycle polypropylene products, delivering a sustainable plastic economy not reliant on fossil fuels with environmental benefits of lower CO2 emissions.
Plastic is one of the most versatile and useful materials that has been developed in our history. It has become so ubiquitous in our everyday lives that we do not even realise the extent of its utilisation. While we all recognise the use of plastics in food packaging and bottles, it is used in a multitude of other products, such as carpets, furnishings, clothing, electronics, and vehicles.
The problem we are now facing is that what made plastic so useful also makes it extremely difficult to recycle. Breaking plastic down often requires a massive input of heat or pressure which is just not economically or environmentally viable. This lack of ability to recycle plastics efficiently has led to growing plastic waste being dumped into oceans and landfills. As the demand for plastic is not diminishing, new innovative recycling methods are the key to win the fight against plastic pollution.
ISOPREP proposes a method for recycling end-of-life polypropylene products back into virgin quality polypropylene by utilising a novel patented solvent. The aim of the project is to develop and engineer this process at pilot scale using 1 tonne of waste polypropylene carpet as the feedstock. This solvent-based recycling method offers a cost-effective, energy-efficient, sustainable method for polypropylene production, with the added benefits of lower CO2 emissions and non-reliance on fossil fuels.
The ISOPREP project runs from October 2018 for three years, has a budget of € 6.3M, and is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme under a specific call to provide efficient recycling processes for plastics containing materials. The project is being led by independent research and technology experts, TWI, and partners include: Advanced Resins and Coatings Technologies Innovation Centre (ARCTIC), Floteks, Fraunhofer, Sabanci University, Bioniqs Ltd., Institute of Processing and Engineering (IPPE), RotaJet Systems Ltd., Axion Recycling Ltd., and the Centre for Nanotechnology and Smart Materials (CENTI).Interested parties can follow developments on our twitter account @ISOPREPproject and project website www.isoprep.co.uk. Press and media enquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 1223 940244.