The European Union’s push towards a circular economy is both bold and commendable. However, as outlined in the EU’s early warning report of 2023, the target of 50% recycling rate for plastic packaging by 2025 is under significant threat, with 19 Member States predicted to fall short. These challenges hinge on the complexity of plastic design, high sorting losses during processing, and inefficiencies in current collection systems. But these challenges aren’t insurmountable, thanks to innovative technologies and research projects like DECOAT.
DECOAT is devoted to enabling circular use of textiles and plastic materials. It does this by investigating advanced material removal processes for these composite materials. One such approach is the use of solvent-based technology, while another significant advancement is the development of the INDAR primer.
The solvent-based technology is a promising solution for the complexity of plastic packaging design. This process involves the use of specially designed solvents to separate different material layers in multi-layer packaging. The benefit of this is two-fold: it not only enables more efficient recycling of each component material, but it also preserves the quality of these materials, allowing them to be reprocessed into high-quality applications. This addresses the issue of high sorting losses during processing.
The INDAR primer, on the other hand, offers a unique solution for materials that are designed to bond permanently. Developed by Rescoll within the framework of the DECOAT project, this technology involves applying a primer that can enable or disable adhesion on-demand. When activated by a specific stimulus (such as heat), the primer facilitates material separation. In the context of recycling, this means complex plastic materials and textiles can be easily separated at their end-of-life, enhancing their recyclability.
How these technologies have been applied and how they improve recycling will be presented by the project partners at the final webinar event on the 27th June 2023.
Find more information on the event and register here: