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Manufacture and commercialization of high quality recycled polyolefin films using an innovative continuous extrusion recycling process assisted by sc-CO2 for printed plastic waste

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CLIPP PLUS (Manufacture and commercialization of high quality recycled polyolefin films using an innovative continuous extrusion recycling process assisted by sc-CO2 for printed plastic waste)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

CLIPP+ project aims to produce and commercialize new high quality environmentally friendly recycled PE films by means of an innovative extrusion CLIPP Recycling Technology (CRT) based on the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (sc-CO2) as a cleaning agent, promoting the reuse of post-industrial waste from printed films in non-food packaging applications.
Every year at EU level around 200 kt of waste printed PE films are generated by converting industry (around 10% of the production). Mechanical recycling of this waste is challenging due to the presence of inks, which make these recycled materials only suitable for manufacturing low value products (rubbish bags, irrigation pipes and pots), when not diverted to energy recovery and landfill, which has a negative environmental and societal impact. CLIPP + aims to introduce into the market cost-competitive environmentally friendly recycled polyolefin films to be reused in non-food film packaging through an innovative technology based on the use of sc-CO2 technology to remove the contaminants and unpleasant smell associated to this type of printed recycled plastic packaging films.
Packaging industry is under increasing legislative pressure such as Directive 2004/12/EC on packaging and packaging waste, which sets targets for recycling of packaging to recover plastic waste for mechanical recycling avoiding landfill. CLIPP+ project is fully aligned wth this approach
The development of CLIPP+ project has provided SKYMARY a very valuable approach to put the company in the fast track to embrace the challenges of EU Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy, putting SKYMARK ahead of even larger competitors.
The objective of CLIPP+ project is to obtain a recycled PE compound for manufacturing high-quality odour-free films with the same properties of films obtained from virgin resins.
The proposed technology CRT has been implemented at industrial level for treating post-industrial waste print PE film generated in the same plant. The analysis indicated that, when injecting the CO2 in supercritical conditions, a significant reduction of VOC is obtained in comparison to the conventional treatment process, which only uses the vacuum degasification phase. Furthermore, this reduction level is proportional to the percentage of gas injected, thus achieving a reduction of VOC values by less than a half with 4.5 % of CO2 gas.
Results from laboratory essays and tests comparing film properties have shown that coextruded films from recycled thermoplastic compounds show similar physical and mechanical properties to those obtained from PE virgin resin grades. In addition, films obtained from recycled thermoplastic compounds do not show disturbing odours so that a more pleasant working environment is achieved.
A final economic analysis has been carried out covering equipment costs, operating costs (personnel, raw materials and energy), consumables and capital costs. Calculated processing costs for CRT treatment are 246 Euro per tonne.
The main tasks carried out within this periodic report:
WP2: we carried out different trials at industrial level to set up the new recycling line to treat PE printed film waste with CLIPP+ technology in order to obtain high quality recycled thermoplastic compounds. Analysis showed that the positive effect of CO2 gas as a decontamination agent for reducing VOCs content.
WP3: we took the reclaimed polymer from WP2 and produced new blown films. As a main outcome it was established that recycled compounds can be processed in the extrusion blown film industrial lines using similar machine parameters used with virgin resin grades. Laboratory testing demonstrated that coextruded films from recycled thermoplastic compounds show similar physical and mechanical properties to those obtained from PE virgin resin grades.
WP4, Eco-labelling of developed products Legislation monitoring, have been addressed to assess the environmental impacts of the products developed. The results of the assessment confirmed that the carbon footprint of the CLIPP+ film is lower than that of conventional film. With this calculation it can be concluded that the recycling process developed in the CLIPP + project produces less impact compared to the production process of virgin material.
WP5: SKYMARK has outlined its strategy to exploit the innovative CLIPP technology in terms of differentiation, competitor advantage and its position as a leader of change for the circular economy in its core markets.
According to the successful outcomes from the industrial trials to assess the performance of the new reclaim line setup in SKYMARK facilities for treating post-industrial waste print PE clear films generated in the same facility, and also thanks to the positive results from laboratory tests and analysis to characterize industrial extruded blown films obtained, the impact for the innovative CLIPP+ Recycling Technology (CRT) is gaining momentum and forecasts are very promising.
On 2 December 2015, the European Commission put forward a package to support the EU's transition to a circular economy. In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible. Waste and resource use are minimised, and when a product reaches the end of its life, it is used again to create further value.
A circular economy will preserve resources, some of which are increasingly scarce, subject to mounting environmental pressure or volatile prices, and will save costs for European industries.
In January 2018 the European Commission has recently adopted a new set of measures including a Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy and annex to transform the way plastics and plastics products are designed, produced, used and recycled.
In the EU, the potential for recycling plastic waste remains largely unexploited. Landfilling and incineration rates of plastic waste remain high (31 % and 39 %, respectively) and while landfill has decreased over the past decade, incineration has grown.
EU strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste is aimed to significantly reduce landfill promoting mechanical recycling since incineration for energy recovery is not a well-accepted. Mechanical recycling represents a more sustainable approach than energy recovery due to less impacts on abiotic resources depletion.
It was estimated that plastics production and the incineration of plastic waste give rise globally to approximately 400 million202ftonnes of CO2 a year. Using more recycled plastics can reduce dependence on the extraction of fossil fuels for plastics production and curb CO2 emissions.
Demand for recycled plastics today accounts for only around 6 % of plastics demand in Europe. Stepping up the recycling of plastics can bring significant environmental and economic benefits.
The results of this project will therefore have an important impact throughout the EU for the plastic recycling industry and suppliers of plastic packaging sector.
We couldn’t have foreseen the massive focus on plastic waste that started in December 2017 in the press in the UK. All the major newsmakers both internet an terrestrial TV based have focused news items and even programmes that raise the problem of plastic waste and what will we do with the different waste streams. This is all excellent news for the CLIPP+ project.
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Kick Off Meeting (SKYMARK-AIMPLAS) (July15)
P1 Meeting (Dic16)
SOFIDEL Award - Best environmental project
Final Meeting (Dic17)