The LIFE PLASMIX project addresses the mechanical recycling of the most complex plastics

Plastic waste is an important resource that should be availed of, particularly in a scenario in which, according to PlasticsEurope, 60% of plastic waste in Spain is not recovered and usually ends up in landfills or incinerators. The LIFE PLASMIX project aims to demonstrate that it is possible to recover, separate and mechanically recycle mixed plastic waste from the rest fraction sent to waste treatment plants, thus preventing the incineration and/or landfilling of this waste.

Due to their versatility and the manner in which they inherently lend themselves to innovation, plastics have a crucial role to play in the development of a sustainable economy and efficient use of resources. Plastics play an important role in sectors such as transport, construction, food and health, and they also contribute to reducing the consumption of other resources, such as energy and water.

The EU Plastics Strategy, adopted by the European Commission on January 16, 2018, establishes the basis for a new and more sustainable plastics economy. The main objectives of the strategy are for all plastic packaging in the EU market to be recyclable or reusable by 2030, to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics and to restrict the deliberate use of microplastics. By transforming the way in which plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled, Europe will lead the way in solving the problem of plastic waste, whilst at the same time creating new jobs and investment opportunities.

In recent years, numerous initiatives, R&D&i projects and actions aimed at moving closer to the Circular Economy have been undertaken, with the main objective being to develop products that can be more easily recycled, repaired and reused.

According to figures published by ANARPLA, the percentage of plastic waste recycled in Spain is now higher than the percentage sent to landfill, although the latter figure is still very high at around 40 %. This demonstrates increased levels of awareness in society, and also reflects the efforts made to improve management systems, recycling processes and innovation in the plastics industry. But more must be done.

This project, entitled PLASTIC MIX RECOVERY AND PP AND PS RECYCLING FROM MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE (LIFE PLASMIX), was accepted by the European Commission in July 2019 and, through the LIFE Programme, has received EU funding under Grant Agreement LIFE18 ENV/ ES/000045 (LIFEPLASMIX)

 

Sunil Arjandas Arjandas, Industrial Engineer – Department of Waste Treatment and Disposal Environmental Services. FCC Environment

Gabriel Blázquez, Full Professor of Chemical Engineering. Universidad de Granada

Published in: FuturENVIRO Nº 70 May-June 2020