The Hilex Poly Bag-2-Bag Programme recently received the 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers Environmental Division’s Award for Plastics Recycling Technologies and Applications. The Bag-2-Bag Programme takes plastic bags and remanufactures them into new plastic bags.
Hilex Poly invested more than US$25 million in its recycling center in Indiana, USA, which recycled in excess of 20 million pounds (over 9,000 tonnes) of bags, sacks and wraps in 2012.
Compared to conventional bags, the bags made of recycled content reportedly require 20% less energy to produce and reduce lower carbon emissions by 11%.
The Filabot converts waste PVC into filament for 3D Printers. At $50 a spool, this could lead to significant long term savings. Importantly, it enables PVC to be used as a "technical nutrient", and recycling around and around and around.
friedola®TECH is a German company recycling plastic production scrap. The company's REPLAG® recycling system makes valuable raw materials out of scrap that can be reinjected into production of new materials after sorting, crushing and regranulation. Today, 80% of the raw materials for production at friedola®TECH is made of recycled materials.
Plastic waste such as bags and water bottles that are difficult to recycle have found a new life in the asphalt mix used to pave streets in Vancouver, Canada
An Ontario company, GreenMantra has developed a technology to develop a wax for asphalt from waste plastic. The wax lets asphalt flow smoothly at a lower temperature, thus reducing fuel costs to heat the asphalt and reducing vapours from the asphalt as it is placed.
Composites (high-tech plastics and carbon fibre) are used extensively in aircraft manufacture.
Boeing is working with Materials Innovation Technology and ELG Carbon Fibre to recycle raw composites into recycled composites. This is achieved by shredding and then pyrolysis, thus removing the resin from the composites and leaving a lower grade fibre.
Whilst the recycled composites can't be used for structural parts, they can be used in non-structural elements. Doing this is expected to yield environmental benefits and cost savings. The same amount of recycled fibre requires 5% of the energy as producing virgin fibre.
The Washington Open Object Fabricators (WOOF) have won $100,000 at the 3D4D Challenge for their project, which will transform plastic waste into pieces for rainwater harvesting systems and composting toilets in the developing world.
The prize is awarded to the best business idea pitch. The decision is based on the level of innovation demonstrated by the project and the proposed use of 3D printing technology to improve the incomes and livelihoods of people in developing countries.
It would be an incredible thing to be able to facilitate decentralised manufacturing, with that manufacturing fed by waste materials.
The Ford Mondeo (Ford Fusion in USA) is the first global vehicle program to use seat fabric made from recycled material, with the potential to recycle enough plastic bottles and post-industrial waste to make 1.4 million metres of fabric annually.
One of the suppliers is Unifi, which has developed a yarn branded Repreve. Repreve is a polyester yarn made from recycled PET bottles.
Creating a world of no waste means that markets for recycled materials must be strong and diverse. Steps such as this are steps in the right direction.
Trex Co. Inc is revamping its thin-film collection and recycling programme in Southern California. The programme initially started in 2008 but faded, in large part because of technical issues. The old balers apparently struggled with reliability, and the large bales were difficult to manage. The revamped programme uses compressed-air mini-balers that produce bales weighing a little over 20 kg.
Trex makes composite decking from the bags, with the bags comprising more than 95% recycled content. The key components are polyethylene plastics and sawdust.
The St. Lawrence Country Department of Highways is using Struxure boards manufactured by Axion to repair and restore bridge decking on a bridge in Clare, New York. The Struxure boards are made from recycled plastic and plastic composite building composites. There is a very significant market for this application.
Another of Axion's products being used in a separate project are the Ecotrax railway ties. They are being used for part of the Trinity Railway Express between Dallas and Fort Worth. The Ecotrax ties are made from a composite of recycled polyethylene plastic and fibreglass.
19 year old Boyan Slat has designed the Ocean Cleanup Array which could reduce the world’s oceanic garbage patches by removing 7,2500,000 tonnes from them.
The array is a network of floating booms and processing platforms laid out to funnel the plastic in the direction of the platforms, where the plastic is separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling.
Deep Sea News gives quite a few reasons for why this concept may not work, so read their site before deciding that the Ocean Cleanup Array will solve marine debris:
Ployfloss is a brilliant idea for creating a new type of material from waste plastic.
Rather than accepting that plastic manufacture has to be heavily industrialised and barely understood, The Polyfloss Factory has decided to make a new "fairy floss" type material from waste plastic that can be used in interesting ways.
Using polypropylene (typically), Polyfloss is created into a floss type network of fibres, which in turn can be moulded, welded or coated into new forms.
Behind Polyfloss are four Royal College of Art graduates, so be sure to see some truly exciting creations!
A pretty dense, but essentially reporting on how Central Asian countries are buying PET recyclers to enable PET flakes to be reinserted into local manufacturing.
It is a very interesting positive in what is generally a sea of negativity (pun intended) about plastic and its marine impacts. By installing a PET recycler, local manufacturers can displace imported PET that is purchased at an average price of US $2,000/tonne. Uzbekistan alone imports around 70,000 tonnes/year.
Plastic recycling projects at the Stanford University Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic are being used to guide the design of plastic materials used in the health sector.
Research being conducted by the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, and using the services of Greenwaste in the Stanford case, is finding that high-end plastic waste that has not come into contact with patients and is not contaminated can be successfully recycled, saving hospitals money.
Interesting research from Brazil on converting waste plastic and bagasse into composite plastics. Has great potential to integrate in with poverty reduction work like that being done by Waste for Life.
PVC Is a problematic plastic, particular in waste to energy applications. VinyLoop recycles composite structures containing at least 70% PVC.
The process separates the PVC compound from other materials (other plastics, rubber, metal, textile and others) by selective dissolution and filtration. It precipitates it into micro granules of PVC compound.
The regenerated PVC compound can be processed by extrusion, injection or calendering.
Follow through to the website for a virtual tour of the plant via youtube. Solvay is releasing a white paper today regarding the life cycle benefits of recycling PVC.