Effectiveness of the new technology is said to exceed the conventional processes 70 %, while the challenge of the coming six months is scaling the results at industrial level and validating the characteristics of the new packages manufactured with the resulting material.
The project has a duration of 30 months and is funded through the EU’s Life programme and coordinated by Aimplas, the Plastics Technology Centre. Other entities, such as the technology centre Aidimme, the association of exporters Arvet, as well as companies such as Acteco and Enplast take part.
In order to eliminate toxicity in plastic packages having contained toxic substances and hazardous mixtures, the triple washing and drying method is currently used. It is a treatment that requires large amounts of water, washing liquids and energy, as well as the generation of waste water, which must have a specific treatment. After this decontamination process, plastics are usually processed by means of extrusion, since this treatment affects their performances.
The project Life Extruclean has developed a decontamination process by using sc-CO2 (supercritical carbon dioxide) in the extrusion process. Acteco, together with Aimplas, is implementing the new technology with the aim of simplifying the current washing and drying processes previous to extrusion, with the consequent energy and resource saving.
Enplast will be responsible of obtaining packages with the new recycled material and, together with Aidimme, they will carry out their validation for the final application.
Arvet has coordinated the dissemination activities foreseen during the project’s duration.
Besides being a clean technology, its also said that the new system will lead to improvement in the quality of the recycled material.
Especially during the first half of the project, the process was optimized by using contaminated polyethylene jerry cans in a controlled environment with simulants and liquid models. The results showed percentages of reduction of simulants up to 80 % in the case of packages for industrial or phytosanitary products, what means a 70 % more than with traditional methods.
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