According to estimates by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA), up to four million tonnes of end-of-life tyres are generated each year in Europe and Spain alone accounts for 300,000 tonnes. Most of the polyurethane foam from the automotive industry, mattresses and similar products is landfilled, not to mention other difficult-to-recycle plastic waste such as wire waste. According to Plastics Europe, more than 6.5 million tonnes of plastic are sent to landfills each year.
Aimplas, the Plastics Technology Centre, is now working on the NEOREC Project, which is funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) and ERDF, with the aim of reducing current limitations on recycling this complex waste. The chemical recycling processes being studied include anaerobic degradation. The aim is to isolate and select microorganisms that anaerobically biodegrade biopolymers faster than conventional organisms, which will help establish a more efficient recycling process.
Work is also being done to use partial chain-breaking processes to obtain plastics with the same initial specifications. According to Eva Verdejo, Chemical Recycling Group Leader and researcher, the goals is “to reduce the consumption of resources by reintroducing high value-added materials back into the value chain and generating products and by-products that can be used in the plastics industry, thus minimizing the environmental impact of waste accumulation”.
Source: Recycling Magazine
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