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PlastDeink Report Summary

Project ID: 728730

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PlastDeink (Topic identifier: SMEInst-11-2016-2017)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Over 25.8 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced every year in the EU28 (50 kg per EU citizen). Low density polyethylene (LDPE) represents 17.2% this market (8.2 million tonnes out of a total of 47.8 million tonnes)1. In general, this material can be easily reprocessed and recycled into the same products.
Nevertheless, 30% of this plastic film (2.5 million tonnes produced; 250,000 tonnes generated as industrial waste) is surface-printed due to market requirements (e.g. consumer packaging with brand logo and product information). This surface-printed film is not recyclable in the same way as conventional plastic film. Inks cannot be removed during conventional recycling processes and therefore, the recycled plastic obtained can only be used for low-value products where colour is not a market barrier (e.g. plastics bags for household waste collection). This situation implies a major reduction in profits in the plastic recycling sector due to price differences between the two applications. Average prices for low value applications are €1.8/kg while conventional film reaches average prices of €3-5 per kg of product.
Our company, Cadel Deinking (owner of a patent on plastic deinking ES2427019B2 ), was created with the main objective of improving the quality of recovered materials for the plastic industry.
The specific remit of this project is to launch an innovative, environmentally friendly, low-cost process to deink surface-printed plastic film. This process is focused on removing ink thus allowing recycled printed plastic film to be used for the manufacture of added-value products.
Our process has a clear advantage in terms of price, quality and sustainability in comparison with conventional recycling and deinking processes. The combination of adapted sub-processes (milling, deinking, drying, extrusion and water treatment) allows high-quality deinked plastic to be obtained at a low cost (€831 per tonne of cleaned plastic, i.e. €669 lower than virgin plastic). Moreover, this plastic is aligned with requirements for high added-value applications such as packaging.
The main action of the Phase I project is to develop a feasibility study on the potential introduction of this new technology in the market, including a technical feasibility study, stakeholder assessment, market study, and the elaboration of a business plan.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

At phase I, Cadel Deinking undertook a Feasibility Study to evaluate this innovative deinking technology. This study was focused on four key areas: a) Market analysis, b) Technical feasibility analysis, and c) Business plan.
Market analysis. We carried out an in-depth market analysis with potential clients in the European plastic converting to find out what the problem/need is at source, what interest, acceptance, and therefore, the market potential that exists for PlastDeink. The results show that there is a demonstrated market interest for this new deinking process due to its approach to customer needs.
Technical feasibility analysis. This study has been cented on the technical assessing of the quality of the PlastDeink plastic versus other competing plastics (virgin LDPE, non-printed recycled LDPE, surface printed LDPE, surface printed LDPE deinked with solvents). Properties evaluated have been mechanical properties (tensile modulus, tensile strength, elongation at break and tear strength) and optical properties (brightness, whiteness, colour, opacity and yellowness).
“PlastDeink plastic” presents slightly lower properties than “non-printed recycled LDPE” (reference), but better than “surface printed LDPE” and “surface printed LDPE deinked with solvents”. Therefore, it means that PlastDeink process allows a better quality in the final plastic than competing deinking processes (i.e. deinking with solvents).
Business plan. A business plan has been elaborated. It has included the study of the business model, competitive advantages, market and customer analysis, value proposition, and commercial and marketing plan. Moreover, this work has been structurated taking into account the results of the coaching plan which has been compiled in a financial.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

PlastDeink has also a positive general influence on the three pillars of sustainability.
Economic. Currently plastic converters are losing €900 per tonne of inked scrap plastic generated (i.e. sales at €400/tonne, purchases at €1,500/tonne; 8% of production). For example, in a medium-sized converter company (i.e. production 10,000 tonnes/year; scrap plastic 800 tonnes/year) this represents losses of €520,000/year.
Social. This business will help European recyclers and converters to be more competitive, and create new jobs. The industry currently employs over 1.6 million people. Using this technology will require eight new jobs per plant. Therefore, our technology will help to create 1,200 new jobs in the sector.
Environmental. PlastDeink technology improves waste management (reducing landfill), reduces carbon footprint and European oil dependency and stimulates innovation in recycling. This is related to the EU objective to push a Circular Economy Strategy . Within this Strategy, the EU Commission proposes an Action Plan for the reduction of waste and the implementation of a long-term path for waste management and recycling by 2030.
Addtionally, it should be noted that PlastDeink is ligned with both European and global challenges on:
Waste management. The European Union is demanding new strategies to boost waste management hierarchy and to reduce the amount of landfilled plastic waste (Directives 2008/98/EC and 1999/31/EC ).
Climate change. The Paris Protocol set reduction targets for greenhouse gases (8% between 1990 and 2012). This reduction commitment was increased in the EU (20% between 1990 and 2020) .
Circular economy. Contribution to the objectives set out in the EU action plan: for the Circular Economy Package and the EU Resource Efficiency Roadmap .
Other. PlastDeink is also aligned with the EU Challenge “Climate action, environment, resource efficiency, and raw materials”, which intends to boost innovative waste management solutions.

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