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Recycling of coated and painted textile and plastic materials

Project description

Smart additives to give new life to ‘coatings’ that are difficult to recycle

The majority of textiles and plastics with coatings – from clothing and electronic devices to automotive parts – ends up in landfills. The goal is to reverse this trend and meet ambitious plastic recycling targets of 50 % (set by the European Plastics Industry). But many materials consist of more than one chemical component, making them non-recyclable unless these components are separated. The EU-funded DECOAT project will develop a solution to ensure the circular use of textiles and plastic parts with (multilayer) coatings. Specifically, it will investigate triggerable smart polymer material systems and appropriate recycling processes. The triggerable solutions will be based on smart additives like microcapsules or microwave triggered additives. The new DECOAT principle will be demonstrated at a recycling pilot plant.


The main goal of DECOAT is to enable circular use of textiles and plastic parts with (multilayer) ‘coatings’, which are typically not recyclable yet. These ‘coatings’ comprise functional and performance coatings and paints as well as adhesion layers. Therefore, novel triggerable smart polymer material systems and the corresponding recycling processes will be developed. The triggerable solutions will be based on smart additives (like microcapsules or microwave triggered additives) for the ‘coating’ formulations that will be activated by a specific trigger (heat, humidity, microwave, chemical).
A continuous recycling pilot plant will demonstrate the novel DECOAT principle that allows upgrading existing mechanical recycling by adding tools for sorting by and activation of the trigger. The optimal use of the Creasolv® process for recycling of coated parts will be assessed. The focus is on recycling of the bulk material, but re-use of the coatings materials themselves will also be tackled. Using these recycling processes, circular use of demo cases for outdoor gear, household electronics and automotive parts will be validated.
The novel triggerable DECOAT technologies will create new markets for additives, coatings, paints and adhesives fulfilling the recycling need. The concepts will support designers and product developers for making ‘recyclable-by-design’ products. This will create direct business opportunities for the DECOAT partners and serve as examples for promoting DECOAT solutions to the wider stakeholder community.
The targeted products (parts) are coated plastic from cars, electrical and electronic equipment and coated textiles which produce annually almost 3.5 million tons waste. DECOAT will lead to a decrease in landfilling of ca. 75% and a reduction in the carbon footprint by at least 30% for these products. By enabling their recycling, DECOAT is expected to generate on medium term a novel market of over 150 million in Europe (or ca 500 jobs).

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 598 125,00
1000 Bruxelles / Brussel

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 634 250,00

Participants (21)