EU – A new, pan-European consortium project is aiming to create high-value products with properties similar to timber or aluminium from low-grade mixed plastic waste.
Known as PRIME, it intends to use mixed polymer waste to manufacture items with strength and good surface quality such as flood barriers as well as marine and construction products. PRIME claims the issue of what to do with low-grade mixed plastic waste is one of the biggest challenges facing the European recycling industry. In order to develop sustainable recycling pathways, innovative technologies that can use it as a raw material and create something productive and beneficial are vital, says the organisation.
As part of the project, experts in material science and innovators in manufacturing using mixed polymers are researching and developing pressure forming methods for innovative composite formulations and high-efficiency heat transfer. The PRIME consortium is made up of 10 partners, with five from the UK, three from Belgium, and one each from France and Hungary working in partnership with the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency.
These partners come from various backgrounds and include universities, research centres as well as SMEs. As a result of increasing environmental concerns, rising feedstock prices and legislation such as the Waste Framework Directive, post-consumer plastic waste recovery has reached 50% in the EU. But according to PRIME, around 20% of this is recycled while 30% is incinerated for energy generation.