Skip to main content

Digging for high-quality polymers in the e-scrap mine

United States – Scientists at the US Illinois Sustainability Technology Center claim they are the first group to have found a way to separate mixed polymers so that they can be recycled into new, high-quality plastic products in an energy-efficient and sustainable way.

Recycling of plastics used to make consumer products like mobile phones cases is problematic due to the complex blends of polymers, observes Sriraam Chandrasekaran, research engineer at the Illinois Sustainability Technology Center.

Together with fellow scientists, he applied a chemical solvent called NMP to dissolve the composite materials’ structure, allowing them to effectively recover the polymers. The laboratory trials suggest that mixed-plastic electronics waste could be a ‘valuable source’ of reusable polymers, Chandrasekaran states.

One ‘particularly efficient’ feature of the innovative recycling method is the ability to condense the evaporated solvent for reuse again and again.

Also, the researchers managed to convert any remaining polymer waste into usable fuel thanks to pyrolysis, thus diverting even more plastics from landfills.

Don't hesitate to contact us to share your input and ideas. Subscribe to the magazine or (free) newsletter.

You might find this interesting too

The ‘fraud’ of plastic recycling
Plastic recyclers are going strong
Backing for Dutch thermal analysis tech

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe now and get a full year for just €169 (normal rate is €225) Subscribe