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HIGH SPEED LASER IDENTIFICATION OF PLASTICS AND POLYMERS FROM DOMESTIC WASTE FOR RECYCLING PURPOSES

Exploitable results

Technology has been developed for identifying and sorting mixed plastic waste. The technology operates on laser induced breakdown spectroscopy. Some limitations exist, which are likely to restrict ultimate potential for such machinery. Also, alternative technologies, particularly for bottle sorting, have been put in place in several countries of Europe as well as in the United States, suggesting that the window of opportunity is smaller than expected. A reappraisal of match between what the technology can offer and what the market really needs today has been recently conducted, after project termination. This lead to the recognition of a potential opportunity in identification technologies for engineering plastic waste, particularly for fire retarded compounds (as the brominated additives need special disposal care). Furthermore the partnership has recognized that an association with the leading identification technologies supplier, should be the best way to progress, in these identified and yet still open markets. A new collaborative research project is currently proposed. Identiplast, a seminar on sorting technologies which recently took place in Brussels highlighted the possible positioning of the technology within competitive alternatives. It also demonstrated that the market for such tools is just emerging. The drive for greater use of such tools lies in the treatment of plastic wastes, whatever their origin.

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