About 3DPIM Green Tech, Production

Using mixed waste plastics to manufacture complex recycled polymer products.

The price of raw materials, environmental concerns and the costs of disposing of mixed waste plastics increase each year. Now the PRIME project has developed a new way to reuse recycled plastics for a wide range of low to medium value products.

What to do with mixed plastic waste? Despite advances in recycling technology, this type of waste has always proved problematic. Now the PRIME project has developed a new way to reuse mixed waste plastics for products such as building materials, flood barriers, temporary structures, flooring and marine products.

Objectives

PRIME will find innovative solutions for turning mixed plastic waste into a valuable resource.

The project proposes to develop a cost effectiveflexible moulding technology using a combination of established and innovative techniques, and using mixed polymer waste to manufacture high value products.

These products will have a mixed recyclate core and a reinforced skin, providing strength and good surface quality that have similar properties to timber or aluminium.

Flexible moulding

With funding of over €1.8 million secured by Pera Technology through EU FP7 programme, the PRIME project has developed a validated proof of concept method for cost-effective, flexible moulding technology to manufacture high value, complex recycled 3D polymer products

At around 80-98% mixed waste polymers; these will have almost identical mechanical properties to the current virgin polymer or timber alternatives.

Mixed recyclate

The PRIME process produces a sandwich board of two outer skins and an expanded core. The reinforced skins are manufactured using heated compression moulding to melt the plastic and form it under pressure, with the core comprising of flaked recycled material. This balances stiffness, surface quality and strength.

Efficiently re-use materials

The advantages are many. Instead of paying to dispose of waste streams generated within our own economies, designing products to efficiently reuse materials can add value, create demand and provide employment, whilst reducing the overall domestic carbon footprint. A recycled thermoplastic product made from the PRIME process has a carbon footprint 60% better than a similar product made from virgin materials, and at similar quality and price.

Environmentally friendly

Life Cycle Analysis has also proven recycled plastic panels to be more environmental friendly than the aluminium equivalent, while also providing a degree of flame retardancy and UV stability. As well as re-using mixed plastic waste, the project also addresses pressure from non-EU competition and lowers demand for virgin polymers and other materials such as plywood and metals. The use of recycled plastics as a raw material can also add to companies’ environmental credentials.

Partners

  • European Plastics Recyclers (Eupr)
  • European Plastics Converters (EuPC)
  • Recycling of Used Plastics Limited (RECOUP)
  • Caro Flood Defence Systems Limited
  • Acorn Project Management Ltd
  • Mikrolin Hungary Kft
  • Armines
  • Ecole Des Mines DA
  • UK Materials Technology Research Institute (A Pera Technology Company)
  • Brunel University

Funding

Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)