Polymer Library

Recycling of Polymers - August 2016

This month we're looking at polymer recycling. Thanks to their low cost, lightweight and durable properties, plastics are used in a wide range of applications and mass production has increased significantly over the last 60 years. So too has the amount of plastic waste ending up in landfill. In Europe alone, despite a ban on the landfilling of plastics residuals in nine countries, the proportion going to landfill in other countries is still very high at as much as 70%, according to PlasticsEurope. Growing pressure on landfill capacity, along with legislation and the increase in number of landfill bans, means that the plastics industry must pay greater attention to the recycling of plastic waste. With greater research into the eco-efficiency of plastics, advances are being made in new and improved technologies and methods for polymer recycling. It is possible that the majority of waste can be diverted from landfill over coming decades.

Why not review some of the items we've added to the Polymer Library about recycling of polymers?


These abstracts were highlighted in the August Newsletter and found in the Polymer Library.

Click on the 7-digit accession numbers to find out about ordering a copyright-cleared full text copy of the items shown.

1233341 - Recycling the unrecyclable
A look is taken at plastics industry innovations aimed at keeping traditionally difficult-to-recycle plastics out of landfill. These innovations include the recycling of potato chip bags made from a blend of PP and PE into materials for three-dimensional printing and for making new products, such as park benches, a recyclable, multi-layer, stand-up pouch produced completely out of PE (AccredoFlex RP) and the transportation of PVC-based flooring materials for recycling to consolidation points across the USA.
Plastics Engineering, Citation: 72, No.4, Apr. 2016 suppl. Recycling Supplement, p.S14-S16
Lamontagne N D

1230249 - Sustainable development through feedstock recycling of plastic wastes
The usage of plastic materials in daily life has continuously increased over the last 30 years. The amount of plastic consumed per inhabitant in the industrialised countries has increased by a factor of 60 over this period, while the generation of plastic wastes has grown at a similar rate. Recycling of plastic materials is now an important field in the plastics industry, not just an activity born under environmental pressure. The recycling processes include industrial operations in which secondary materials are reprocessed and/or monomers recovered for further polymerisation; such processes are termed secondary and tertiary recycling. At present, there are three main alternatives for the management of plastic wastes in addition to land filling: (i) mechanical recycling by melting and regranulation of the used plastics, (ii) feedstock recycling and (iii) energy recovery. Consequently, feedstock recycling appears as a potentially interesting approach, based on the conversion of plastic wastes into valuable chemicals useful as fuels or as raw materials for the chemical industry. The cleavage and degradation of the polymer chains may be promoted by temperature, chemical agents, catalysts, etc. The purpose of this work is to describe and review the different alternatives developed for the feedstock recycling of plastic wastes, with emphasis on both the scientific and technical aspects. (18 ref)
Macromolecular Symposia, Citation: 362, No.1, 2016, p.39-51, DOI: 10.1002/masy.201500107
Vasudeo R A; Abitha V K; Vinayak K; Jayaja P; Gaikwad S

1230350 - Recycling of poly(ethylene terephthalate) - a review focusing on chemical methods(Open Access - Free PDF Available)
Recycling of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is of crucial importance, since worldwide amounts of PETwaste increase rapidly due to its widespread applications. Hence, several methods have been developed, like energetic, material, thermo-mechanical and chemical recycling of PET. Most frequently, PET-waste is incinerated for energy recovery, used as additive in concrete composites or glycolysed to yield mixtures of monomers and undefined oligomers. While energetic and thermo-mechanical recycling entail downcycling of the material, chemical recycling requires considerable amounts of chemicals and demanding processing steps entailing toxic and ecological issues. This review provides a thorough survey of PET-recycling including energetic, material, thermo-mechanical and chemical methods. It focuses on chemical methods describing important reaction parameters and yields of obtained reaction products. While most methods yield monomers, only a few yield undefined low molecular weight oligomers for impaired applications (dispersants or plasticizers). Further, the present work presents an alternative chemical recycling method of PET in comparison to existing chemical methods. 237 Refs.
Express Polymer Letters, Citation: 10, No.7, 2016, p.559-586, 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2016.53
Geyer B; Lorenz G; Kandelbauer A

1225251 - The word on plastics recycling: momentum
The momentum in plastics recycling, which is helping to reduce the environmental footprint of plastics in the USA, is discussed and a look is taken at the success of recycling for some common plastics and at a new recycling fund and facility, which may well increase the momentum. These plastics include PP in the form of bottles, PS foam and post-consumer plastics in the form of packaging film. The new recycling fund, called the Closed Loop Fund, provides zero- and low- interest loans to cities and companies that want to build new recycling facilities and projects for plastics and other materials.
Plastics Engineering, Citation: 72, No.2, Feb. 2016, p.48-50
American Chemistry Council

1228971 - Characterization of terephthalic acid monomer recycled from post-consumer PET polymer bottles
The idea of recycling of PET to obtain terephthalic acid (TPH) monomer is fast gaining traction; therefore it has become imperative to develop standard characterisation methods to assess the purity of terephthalic acid using reliable and easily available laboratory equipment/techniques. Experimental studies on recycling of post-consumer PET waste were conducted in a batch reactor. The PET was subjected to a de-esterification reaction to break down the ester bonds via alkali decomposition in ethylene glycol at 155 deg C under the influence of ultrasound. The end product, terephthalic acid, was characterised for the functional purity using UV-Visible spectrophotometry, FT-IR, and thermal methods. The terephthalic acid was ascertained by the characteristic peak at 240 nm using UV-Visible spectrophotometer and was quantified using a commercially available standard sample of terephthalic acid. The purity of end product was confirmed using FT-IR and thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis. (11 ref)
Macromolecular Symposia, Citation: 361, No.1, 2016, p.30-33, DOI: 10.1002/masy.201400269
Sankaranarayanan Ayyakudi Ravichandran; Vignesh Peranamallur Rajan; Pritham Velamur Aravind; Seenivasan A; Prakash D G; Ramakrishnan K

1231263 - Recycled plastics take the high road
Utilising post-consumer resin or PCR in packaging and even in household goods is common, but now applications extend to larger structures like bridges and roads. A 100% PCR and HDPE composite material produced by Axion was used by the US Army to make the first recycled plastic bridge at Ford Bragg. The bridge could carry a 71-tonne M1 Abrams tank and HS25 loads. The Indian government is utilising waste plastic in roads, which are built within 50km of the periphery of any city that has a population of over 500,000. The expert behind the waste plastic road technology at Thiagarajar College of Engineering claims that waste plastics can replace as much as 15% of bitumen in asphalt. Netherlands-headquartered Royal VolkerWessels Stevin has developed PlasticRoad, which consists of 100% recycled material and is made out of modular panels that snap together.
Plastics and Rubber Asia, Citation: 31, No.221, May 2016, p.6-8
Buan A

1204857 - Functional properties of composite material from recycled tires and polyurethane binder in water medium (Open Access - Free PDF Available)
The present research is as a continuation of the authors' previous research of composite material and practical application of composite material largely connected with water. The aim of present study was to establish certain functional properties of the material in water medium. Water permeability, absorption and swelling of the composite material after being exposed to water for certain period were determined. Water absorption, permeability and swelling of the composite material showed close correlation with polymer reactivity. Moulding pressure, temperature and the distribution of rubber particle sizes also demonstrate a direct influence on the water absorption and permeability of the composite material. The obtained results are useful for the practical application of selected composite material with desirable and predictable functional properties. 9 Refs.
IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, Citation: 111, 2016, paper 012004, pp.5, DOI: 10.1088/1757-899X/111/1/012004
Plesuma R; Malers L


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Plastics Waste Management: Processing and Disposal
This book details the utilisation of a wide range of plastics waste in terms of optimising the processing and disposal of polymers, which plays an important role in the success of the plastics industry. In addition, the environmental impact of the plastics industry is also discussed. Find out more...

Recycling of Polyurethane Wastes
Recycling of polyurethane (PU) wastes is carried out to minimise waste and reduce environmental pollution. In this book, these methods are investigated to find a suitable process for waste reduction, protecting the environment, and preventing landfilling. This book reviews aspects from contemporary literature (including our research) focusing on these topics. Recently, progress has been done by the author’s research team in chemical recycling of PU waste. Find out more...

Recycling of Polyethylene Terephthalate
The environmental and economic need to increase recycling rates is a principal driving force behind technological innovation in the 21st century. Post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) products are an important resource that the global community is focussing on to achieve vital improvements in sustainability and meet important life-cycle goals. Find out more...