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CORDIS

New products from waste PVC flooring and safe end-of-life treatment of plasticisers

Project description

Eco-friendly recycling of PVC floor coverings

End-of-life flexible PVC floor coverings potentially contain ‘legacy plasticisers’, which can no longer be used due to consumer protection concerns. Recovery of PVC in virgin-like quality through state-of-the-art recycling of such flooring is not possible yet. Instead, these materials are often incinerated and valuable resources are irreversible destroyed. The EU-funded CIRCULAR FLOORING project will meet the challenge of establishing a circular economy for flexible PVC flooring with an innovative plastic recycling process. The objective is to gently recycle end-of-life PVC floor coverings by dissolving such waste in a selective solvent and remove critical substances, e.g. restricted plasticizers (phthalates), to achieve a high-quality, virgin-like PVC material. The removed phthalates will be transformed chemically into non-hazardous plasticizers. Both, the recycled PVC and the transformed plasticizer are going back to the production cycle of new floor covering, pointing towards a circular economy.

Objective

CIRCULAR FLOORING aims to enable circular use of plasticized PVC (PVC-P) from waste flooring by developing recycling processes that eliminate plasticizers including hazardous phthalic acid esters (e.g. DEHP). We will demonstrate the project results via production of highquality recycled PVC at TRL 5-6, reprocessing of eliminated plasticizers to new phthalate-free plasticizers and re-use of recycled polymers and additives in new flooring applications. Waste flooring will be subjected to the CreaSolv® Process, which dissolves PVC-P from the material mix and eliminates undissolved matter as well as co-dissolved plasticizers in an extractive purification step (>99%). Pure PVC is recovered from the solution and solvents will be reused completely in the process. Using a controlled catalytic reaction, extracted phthalate ester plasticizers will be converted completely (> 99%) to harmless compounds with plasticizing properties. Together with tailor-made additives, both recovered products are integrated in novel PVC flooring designed for circularity. Chemical and mechanical product analysis, process simulation, LCA, SEA, and business modelling will support process development, upscale and product design. The approach addresses exactly the scope of the call because (i) innovative solutions are developed for removing undesirable substances from secondary raw materials, (ii) removed plasticizers and additives pose health or environmental risks and would adversely affect the quality of the recycled materials and (iii) the hazardous compounds are handled safely and destroyed completely. Addressing the 500.000 t PVC flooring market with recommendations on design for recycling and novel circular materials produced at TRL 5-6, the expected impact on the flooring value chain will be substantial. An interdisciplinary team of 4 RTO, 6 industrial partners (3 SME) and 1 non-profit company will finally implement the new circular economy approach into the PVC flooring industry.

Call for proposal

H2020-SC5-2018-2019-2020

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Sub call

H2020-SC5-2018-2

Coordinator

FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG EV
Net EU contribution
€ 1 995 832,50
Address
HANSASTRASSE 27C
80686 Munchen
Germany

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Region
Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 1 995 832,50

Participants (18)