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A new process for removal of odour from Post Consumer Waste Polymer for non-food applications – ODEX

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Odex (A new process for removal of odour from Post Consumer Waste Polymer for non-food applications – ODEX)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-05-31

Luxus, a leading UK plastics recycling and compounding firm, develops specialised plastic compounds from prime feedstocks and, increasingly, from post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. As a Tier 1 automotive polymer supplier, having developed the ‘Hycolene’ range of high performance lightweight polypropylene (PP) compounds for vehicle interiors, we are committed to increasing the proportion of recycled material.

However, although PP is recycled from “clean” production/offcut scrap relatively easily, it is one of the least recycled Post-consumer plastics, possibly below 1% [ref American Chemistry Council], mainly because of the difficulties in decontamination and removing odour and taint from PCR. PP’s strength and melting point make it the most popular consumer packaging plastic for ready meals, yogurts, sauces, cleaning and personal care liquids. Compounds from these products infiltrate the surface of the PP packaging, making them difficult to remove; additionally, post-consumer PP tends to experience bacterial action that generates secondary musty taints via volatile fatty acids (VFAs), trichloroanisole (TCA) and methoxy-pyrazines; a major hurdle to reusing PCR for high value engineering products.

Based on experience with recycling of post-consumer PP and polyethylene for lower-value uses, we have identified a potentially cost-effective concept to remove odours from these materials to enable them to be used for automotive and engineering applications. This would enable us to help automotive and other customers (moulders of PP components for civil engineering applications) to meet sustainability targets through increased utilization of PCR materials.
In producing this report, the following tasks have been undertaken and completed:
• Technical feasibility
• Economic feasibility
• Legislative feasibility
• Schedule feasibility
• Market feasibility
• Development resource feasibility
• IP exploration, management & dissemination
• Business plan preparation
The concept process is the two stage processing of the material: The first stage treatment is via a special devolatising extruder design to the second stage controlled chilling process to assist diffuse of the odour molecules from the product: The process requires a specific extruder and chilling system design combined with modified materials handling equipment.

The project is relevant to the call topic, ‘Climate action, environment, resource-efficiency & raw materials’ & more specifically to “SMEInst-11-2016-2017- Boosting the potential of small businesses in the areas of climate action, environment, resource-efficiency and raw materials”. The project seeks to develop an eco-innovative process to address the challenge of sustainable & economic supply of recycled plastics as raw materials in the EU high quality recycled plastics market. The project aims to be resource-efficient (recover the 99% of PP post-consumer waste which is currently not recycled, produce materials at higher value than existing processes), addresses the needs for climate action & greener environment (by recycling previously unrecovered waste to enable it to be re-used & by reducing CO2 burden of new plastic production) & commercialisation of a product in a business to business sector.

Automotive users of ODEX products will be able to incorporate more sustainably sourced materials into their products, meeting the Green Supply Chain Management objectives mandated by their ISO14000 systems. Additionally, we provide an extra route to help meet their challenging end-of-life vehicle reprocessing targets.
example of Post Consummer Recycled feedstock